A former Jaguar shop steward has been elected as chairman of the West Midlands integrated transport authority.
Coventry Councillor John McNicholas was appointed at Centro’s annual general meeting on Monday.
Coun McNicholas takes over the post after Labour secured a majority on Centro following the local government elections.
Coun Kath Hartley, a Labour member of Birmingham City Council, has been appointed vice-chairman.
On accepting the position Coun McNicholas quoted his predecessor, the late Coun Angus Adams, when he told member of the ITA: “It is an honour and a privilege to serve the West Midlands.
“My administration will be inclusive and while there will be issues we will debate I know that we will resolve them.
“We will be working on behalf of those we represent to get the best possible world-class public transport system.
“This is an exciting time to be involved in public transport, there is a huge agenda over the next couple of years and I thank you in advance for your contribution.”
Born in Plymouth Coun McNicholas, aged 59, is married to June and they have two grown-up children.
He and his wife moved to Coventry in the late 1970s and he cut his political teeth as a shop steward at Jaguar.
He was elected to Coventry City Council in 1986 for the Lower Stoke ward, which he continues to represent, and has been a member of Centro since 2005.
In this time he has served on the council’s Planning Committee, the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee, the Jobs, Skills and Growth Scrutiny Board and the Economy, Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Board.
Until his appointment as chairman he was Centro’s Shadow Lead Member for Policy, District & Local Enterprise Partnership liaison, and for high speed rail.
He has also served on the West Midlands Joint Committee’s Planning and Transportation Sub-Committee, The Coventry Partnership, Birmingham Airport Consultative Committee and as a director of Birmingham International Airport Holdings.
Coun Hartley has represented the Ladywood ward in Birmingham since 1996 and sits on the Transport Connectivity and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Committee and before being made vice-chairman of Centro was its Shadow Lead Member for Bus and Highways.