One of the North East’s largest companies, Go North East, has promoted rising star and marketing strategist Stephen King to head-up its Commercial and Retail division.

The move follows Mr King’s success as the company’s first-ever Head of Marketing – a position he took up in 2015.

Stephen was recently named as one of the ‘North East 50 Marketing Greats’by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

His appointment is integral to plans to boost the commercial advantage of Go North East’s substantial ongoing investment programme which has totalled over £50m in capital spend in the last five years, including a £10.5m investment in upgrading services in 2016.

Go North East is the largest bus operator in the region, a major employer with over 2,100 employees, has a fleet of over 660 buses and is responsible for transporting around 200,000 people to work and leisure destinations every day.

Stephen will oversee the firm’s commercial strategy and function which comprises network design, business development, retail and marketing communications along with stakeholder engagement.

Stephen, who has worked at Go North East since he was 16 and occupies a seat on its Senior Management Team, has pioneered a number of high profile retail and marketing initiatives and industry firsts in his career at the company to date.

Most recently, he launched the hugely successful £1 fare for everyone under 18 – a bold move which has made bus travel much more accessible and affordable to young people and significantly increased ticket sales.

Over the last two years, Stephen has developed a more strategic and structured approach to the company’s marketing and communications – which now has a strategy more akin to that of major national retailers than a regional bus company.

Managing director of Go North East, Kevin Carr, said: “Stephen has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the company and is the best person to add vigour and innovation to our commercial strategy. As a member of our senior team for the last three years, Stephen has shown commitment and drive to help develop our business.”

Stephen comments: “I’m looking forward to continuing to innovate and develop our services for our customers. Strengthening our wider role in supporting our region’s economy by working closely with political figures and the business community is also high on my agenda.”

Stephen has a business management degree, with a marketing specialism, and has recently gained the Institute of Directors Certificate and Diploma qualifications in company direction.

Go North East operates bus services in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Teesside.