Keith Ludeman, Go-Ahead chief executive, is to retire from the train and bus operator in July 2011 after five years at the helm.
He will be succeeded by David Brown, a former Go-Ahead manager who now heads the surface transport arm of Transport for London, in a move that reinforces the influence of London transport veterans at the top of the sector.
Go-Ahead announced the change on Tuesday as it released a trading statement in which it played down the impact of public sector spending cuts announced last week.
Mr Ludeman, 60, has been chief executive since July 2006. His four-decade career began with Greater Manchester Transport and he led two bus companies during a period of deregulation and privatisation before joining Go-Ahead in 1996.
Mr Brown was chief executive of Go-Ahead’s London bus business from 2003 to 2006, before joining TfL, where his responsibilities included the city’s bus network, the congestion charge and taxi regulation.
The succession plan echoes that announced last month by FirstGroup, the rival bus and rail group, where Sir Moir Lockhead is handing over to Tim O’Toole, a former London Underground managing director.
Meanwhile, Dean Finch, the recently installed chief executive of National Express, another transport group, is a veteran of Tube Lines, a private maintenance contractor that has been subsumed into TfL.
Go-Ahead, which runs regulated bus services for TfL, has about one-fifth of the London bus market and also has a presence in the US school bus sector.
The company’s rail business, run via a joint venture with France’s Keolis, comprises the Southeastern franchise, the Southern franchise and the London Midland franchise.
Go-Ahead said trading between July and October had been robust, adding that the spending review should have no direct impact on the group in the current financial year.
“We can manage any impact on our results in following years through a combination of further cost savings and recovery through fares,” it added.
The shares rose 85p to £13.58p.