Blue Bird CEO Phil Horlock leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After almost seven years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and good wishes for Horlock
  • Matt Stevenson taking over

(exechange) — Macon, Georgia, June 22, 2021 — Phil Horlock, chief executive of Blue Bird, leaves. As announced by Blue Bird Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, Philip (Phil) Horlock leaves his post as chief executive officer at the manufacturer of school buses after almost seven years in the role, effective no later than October 31, 2021.

Phil Horlock’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Matthew (Matt) Stevenson, a former President and General Manager at Meritor WABCO.

It is a generational change as well. Matt Stevenson is about 21 years younger than Phil Horlock.

The fact that Phil Horlock’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

Phil Horlock’s move forms part of a management shake-up also involving the position of Chief Administrative Officer.

“Following extensive succession planning”

Blue Bird did not give an explicit reason for Phil Horlock’s departure from the CEO post. Blue Bird said: “On June 16, 2021, the Board of Directors (“Board”) of Blue Bird Corporation (the “Company”), following extensive succession planning and a related executive search and interviews, approved the appointment of Matthew Stevenson as President of the Company, to be effective on July 1, 2021 … The Board approved this appointment with the expectation that Mr. Stevenson will, subject to future Board approval, assume the additional position of Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) no later than November 1, 2021.”

Precise information regarding Phil Horlock’s future plans was not immediately available.


Blue Bird said: “Blue Bird Corporation (“Blue Bird” or “Company”) (Nasdaq: BLBD), the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, announced today that it has appointed Matthew Stevenson as President of the Company, effective July 1, 2021. Mr. Stevenson is expected to succeed Philip Horlock as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), who has elected to retire from the Company, no later than November 1, 2021.”

Blue Bird further said: “[T]he current CEO, Philip Horlock, will resign from the office of President on July 1, 2021, and is expected to resign from the office of CEO no later than October 31, 2021.”

Share price increase since June 2016

The announcement follows an increase in Blue Bird Corp.’s share price of 143% since June 2016.

Chaired by Kevin Penn

Kevin Penn serves as Blue Bird Corp.’s Chairman.

Kevin Penn has been a Class I director of the Company since June 3, 2016, and has served as a Managing Director of American Securities LLC since 2009.

In the position of CEO since 2015

Phil Horlock became CEO of the Company in 2015.

With the July 1 leadership change, Horlock, President and CEO since April 2011, will step down as President but will continue as CEO until Stevenson’s planned appointment to the position later this year.

In addition, from January 1 to December 31, 2022, Horlock will assume a senior-advisor role in a consulting capacity for Stevenson and the Company and remain a Director until his term ends in 2023.

Blue Bird stated: “These actions and timing allow for a smooth transition for the leadership change.”

Philip Horlock has been a Class III director of the Company and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since February 24, 2015, and has been School Bus Holdings’ President and Chief Executive Officer since April 2011.

Prior to this appointment, Horlock served as School Bus Holdings’ CFO and Chief Administrative Officer, starting in January 2010.

Before joining School Bus Holdings, Horlock spent over 30 years with Ford Motor Company, where he held senior executive positions in Finance and Operations worldwide.

His last three positions with Ford were Chairman & CEO of Ford Motor Land Development, Controller of Corporate Finance, and CFO Ford Asia Pacific & Africa.

While at Ford, Horlock served on the Advisory Board of Mazda Motor Corporation and also previously served as a director of LoJack Corporation.

Horlock holds a B.S. degree in Psychology and Mathematics from Sheffield University in England.

He also completed the Ford Executive Development Program (Capstone) through the University of Michigan.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding Phil Horlock’s move on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to Blue Bird and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 26.2021 ($).