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End of an era: triple managing director retirement

December 14, 2023

Dysons' three former joint-managing directors have now retired after 143 years of combined service

On December 8, Lance Deacon, Neil Dyson and Shane Dyson all reached the end of their five-year transition plan, culminating in a celebration to farewell the trio into retirement.

150 guests flocked to Dyson’s Bundoora headquarters to honour the three Dysons legends, with Victorian climate action minister and Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio joining a large congregation of bus industry professions to celebrate the significant achievement.

The three directors collectively gave 143 years of service to the business, with Shane and Neil Dyson both registering 50 years while Lance Deacon brought up 43 years.

Lance, Neil and Shane led the business as Joint Managing Directors for nearly 30 years (1993-2022) before stepping down into a mentoring role for new CEO and Managing Director Andrew Jakab, the company’s first non-family leader in 71 years.

After taking over as managing directors in the ‘90s, the trio saw the business grow from 100 vehicles and three depots to approximately 700 buses and ten depots spread across Melbourne, Regional Victoria and southern New South Wales.

The trio made their mark, orchestrating key acquisitions that proved critical to Dysons’ growth following Col and Bill Dyson’s retirements and the sad passing of Bill Deacon a few years earlier, including the Bell Street Bus Company, Mylon Motorways, Northern Bus Lines, Reservoir Bus Company, Wangaratta Coach Lines, Shepparton Transit and Little’s Gippsland Coaches.

After starting at Dysons in his teens, Lance Deacon re-joined the business in 1987, notching up 43 years of service after commencing his adult working life with Terry Henderson, who sat on Dysons’ board. After learning to be a tax accountant, Deacon had Dysons as a client on the transport side, before entering the business as administration manager before becoming general manager and then joint managing director of corporate services in 1994.

Like many family businesses, Neil Dyson started at Dysons at 15, working at the Reservoir depot cleaning and refuelling the buses. He then completed his heavy diesel mechanic apprenticeship under the eye of Noel Skene, Dyson’s first ever mechanic. With a keen eye for detail, Neil’s core area of focus for 50 years was to ensure that Dysons fleet set the benchmark in the industry and reliability and presentation. Neil also oversaw the fleet acquisition and sales, a busy job for a business growing as quick as Dysons.

Shane Dyson was the operations man keeping the buses moving and ensuring drivers and passengers were looked after each and every day. Known for riding buses back and forth after school, Shane started with Neil in the yard cleaning and fuelling buses. From there, he moved into the service delivery team, quickly working up the ranks as a likeable, humble manager who was initially more comfortable with the drivers than in the Boardroom. Shane took over as operations manager before also becoming a joint managing director with a focus on service delivery in 1994.

The trio will now all continue to sit on the Dysons board, with Dysons looking forward to continuing under the leadership of Andrew Jakab.

In a feature in the company newsletter, Dysons says the three retirees have left the business as well-respected and highly regarded icons not only within the company, but also within the wider bus industry.

“There’s no denying the significant contribution that Lance, Neil and Shane have had at Dysons and in the general bus industry,” the company says.

“From everyone at Dysons, we thank them for their incredible achievement and lasting memories. We hope they enjoy their retirement years and reflect on their incredible work with pride and gratitude.”

Dysons' three former joint-managing directors have now retired after 143 years of combined service