Affectionate tributes were paid yesterday to Chris Moyes, the former chief executive of Go Ahead Group, after his sudden death from a brain tumour.
Mr Moyes, 57, stepped down from running the Newcastle-based transport plc in July, having been seriously ill since May this year.
He was described simply as `excellent' by his long-time friend and colleague Martin Ballinger, with whom he built Go Ahead over 25 years.
Mr Moyes, who died on Tuesday evening, leaves wife Janice, children Charlotte, Caroline and Lizzy, and grandchildren James and Amy.
He had been at the helm of Go Ahead since January 2005, following Mr Ballinger's retirement.
He had been a board member of the Newcastle company since 1986 and played a crucial role in building it into the £1.3bn turnover business it is today - the largest commuter rail operator in London, and operating more than 3,500 buses.
In January this year, Mr Moyes was awarded the OBE for his services to the passenger transport industry.
Besides his work at Go Ahead, Mr Moyes was also chairman of council at the University of Durham and has been a deputy lieutenant of County Durham since June 2005.
Mr Ballinger said: "Chris Moyes was a colleague of mine for almost 25 years at Go Ahead. Over that time, we developed a very strong working relationship and I admired him enormously for his business and industry knowledge, his humanity and his willingness to take on very difficult roles.
"His death is an enormous loss to the industry, and the loss of his friendship, to me and many others, is really very substantial.
"We had a very good working relationship. He had his areas of total expertise where he was regarded as the industry expert. He was excellent."
A statement from Go Ahead yesterday said: "The board expresses its great sadness on the news of the death of Chris Moyes.
"Chris had been seriously ill with a brain tumour since May and passed away peacefully yesterday evening. The board extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to Chris's family." Mr Moyes was influential on Durham University's governing council for nearly 14 years, and had chaired it since 2001.
Vice-chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman remembered Mr Moyes' "gentle smile and occasional raised eyebrow", which were features of his style of chairmanship.
He added: "Chris Moyes was a friend to many people in the university whom he influenced and helped with his time and generosity.We will miss his advice and wise counsel and I learned much from him on how to do business. He was a wonderful chairman, charming but firm, open, a listener and a consensus builder. Our sympathy and grateful thanks go to his wife and all his family."
Steve Noble, managing director of Arriva North-East, who had known Mr Moyes for more than 25 years, said: "We're very sad to learn of Chris's death. He was very professional, a man who was well respected in the bus industry, and someone who will be missed by many people."
Mr Moyes has been replaced as group chief executive of Go Ahead by Keith Ludeman, previously chief executive of the company's rail division. My Moyes' funeral will take place next Wednesday afternoon, September 20, at 2pm in Durham Cathedral, to be followed by a private burial.