Tony Mernagh has been chosen as the new chairman of Brighton and Hove Strategic Partnership.
Mr French is stepping down a few weeks before he retires from the bus company.
Mr Mernagh said: “They’re big shoes to fill.”
The local strategic partnership brings together the great and the good of the area, including leading politicians and officials from Brighton and Hove City Council.
The membership includes senior representatives from Sussex Police, Sussex University, Brighton University, City College Brighton and Hove, the Department for Work and Pensions, the business community and the community and voluntary sector.
Mr French has chaired the strategic partnership for almost eight years under Labour, Conservative and Green administrations.
In a farewell speech he paid tribute to the many volunteers across Brighton and Hove and to all those who had tried to tackle the issues facing the city.
The meeting also heard from Green council leader Jason Kitcat. He said that he had stepped down as chairman of the Brighton and Hove Public Service Board.
He was the only politician on the board which brings together the leading public officials in Brighton and Hove.
He said that he didn’t even know that it existed until he became chairman when he became council leader, despite having been a councillor for several years.
The board was being revamped and would no longer include any politicians or representatives of the community and voluntary sector.
It enabled senior public sector officials to find ways of working together to provide services more efficiently and at lower cost.
The revamp would give the public service board a clearly different remit to the strategic partnership, the meeting was told.
The proposed membership of the public service board includes
- the council chief executive
- the police divisional commander
- the police and crime commissioner’s chief executive
- the accountable officer of the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group
- the vice-chancellor of Brighton University
- the vice-chancellor of Sussex University
- the district manager of the Department for Work and Pensions
- the area manager of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
- the principal of City College
- the chief executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust
- the director of Brighton and East Sussex local delivery unit of the Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust
The final two would be new additions to the make-up of the board.