British Airways chief financial officer Steve Gunning is to become an independent non-executive director of transport provider FirstGroup.

He takes up the position at the operator of UK rail services and the Greyhound bus network in the US and on January 1.

Gunning has served in increasingly senior financial and operational roles at BA since 1998, including five years as CEO of the airline’s cargo division.

His appointment was announced today as FirstGroup revealed that current chief financial officer and interim chief operations officer Matthew Gregory is stepping up to become CEO of the company.

The process is underway to recruit a permanent CFO for FirstGroup with director of finance Nick Chevis assuming the role on an interim basis.

Company chairman Wolfhart Hauser said: “Having conducted a thorough selection process, which considered external and internal candidates, the board unanimously concluded that Matthew is the right person to take on the role of chief executive.

“I am also delighted to welcome Steve Gunning to the board of FirstGroup as a non-executive director.

“Steve’s extensive financial and operational expertise, and knowledge from his senior roles at British Airways, one of the most important customer brands in transport, will be of immense value to the group.”