LondonUnlocked

Tim Parker: Chief Executive of London

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Boris Johnson has made his boldest appointment yet, announcing Tim Parker as his First Deputy.

Mr Parker has substantial experience of working in business and has something of a reputation (to say the least) with the unions. He has previously chaired the AA, Kwik Fit and Clarks shoes.

His role as First Deputy will place him at the heart of Mayor Johnson's transport agenda, giving him the role of Chair of TfL and Chief Executive of the GLA Group (comprising the GLA itself, LDA and TfL).

With one of Boris Johnson's key election pledges being the negotiation of a no strikes deal with the transport unions, Mr Parker will be the point man for any such discussions.

There is no doubt that TfL could use a candidate of Mr Parker's calibre to cut waste and drive efficiency in the network, though in negotiations with the unions there are stormy waters ahead. Dave Hill's blog carries the union leaders' balanced assessment of Mr Parker's appointment:

"This is a scary moment for London's commuters. Tim Parker is one of the multi-millionaire elite private equity buccaneers who asset-stripped the AA by cutting jobs and cutting services and raising prices to customers.

"At AA he targeted and sacked by bullying out of the door the sick and disabled staff. He took £30m out of AA when he left it last year, having saddled AA/SAGA with £4.8bn of debt. The good work of the last number of years is under threat."

Boris Johnson was elected by a healthy majority of Londoners. Whilst the unions are right to defend their members and speak their minds they also have a duty to respect the public's wishes.

We tentatively welcome Mr Parker's appointment, looking forward to seeing what a refined, more businesslike TfL can deliver for the public.