Veezu appoints new chief executive officer
Veezu, one of the UK’s leading private hire and taxi groups, has appointed former chairman, Joel Hope-Bell, as its new chief executive officer.
The 43-year-old, who has been the chairman and a shareholder of Veezu since the business was founded in 2013, brings almost 20 years of senior management experience to the role, having advised international clients whilst working at leading City finance firms, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS and Morgan Stanley, on mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions, as well as debt financing and restructuring.
Most recently, Mr Hope-Bell was chief financial officer for Smart Solutions, where he will now return to his previous role there of chairman.
Mr Hope-Bell succeeds Veezu co-founder Paul Ragan who, following his decision to step down, will remain a substantial shareholder in Veezu and will be staying on Veezu’s Board as a non-executive director.
Mr Hope-Bell will execute on Veezu’s ambitious organic and acquisition led strategy following four years of sustained growth.
“I’ve worked with Veezu from the beginning and am proud to have always taken an active role in this exciting company’s growth and development,” said Mr Hope-Bell, who grew up near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire and currently lives in Hampshire with his wife and four children.
“I’m well-versed in the ambitions of the company and have witnessed first-hand the hard work Paul has put in during the past four years to grow the business to the enviable position it is now in.”
Veezu was formed in 2013 by entrepreneurs Mr Ragan and Mr Nathan Bowles and now operates across three regional hubs in south Wales, Leeds and the Midlands, transporting around 22 million passengers each year.
The company owns Dragon Taxis in south Wales, which operates in Bridgend, Cardiff and Newport, as well as Leeds-based Amber Cars and A2B Radio Cars in Solihull and Birmingham.
Aware of changes in the UK taxi market, Veezu has invested more than £1 million in developing a state-of-the-art “three-tap” mobile app that customers can use to book taxis, store their favourite pick-up locations and create individual accounts that can be paid by cash or card.
A regular in Wales’ FastGrowth 50 league tables, Veezu was named the Fastest Growing Firm in Consumer Services in 2016, as well as the third fastest growing company in Wales. Between 2014 and 2015 it increased its turnover from £1 million to £19 million.
“To be charged with leading such an innovative and ambitious company through the next phase of its development is an honour and challenge I’m very much looking forward to,” said Mr Hope-Bell, who graduated from the University of Leeds with a first-class degree in environmental science and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.
“This isn’t just about offering people around the UK a first-class taxi service, but also about providing a high-quality, reliable transport solution for the communities we operate in – for consumers young and old, for businesses big and small as well as for Local Authorities and public services such as schools and the NHS.”