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Tony Collins and Chris Gibb to retire

Two senior leaders at Virgin Rail Group are stepping down, the company has announced. Chief executive officer Tony Collins and chief operating officer Chris Gibb will retire this month. 

The pair have spent 14 and 10 years at Virgin respectively. Collins will remain as a consultant while Gibb is joining Network Rail's board as a non-executive director.

The new management team will be overseen by joint executive chairmen Patrick McCall and Martin Griffiths from shareholders Virgin Group and Stagecoach Group. Phil Whittingham, as director of finance, will become the lead executive. Phil Bearpark, production director, will become director operations and customer service.

Sir Richard Branson said: “Tony has been a wonderful leader of Virgin Trains over the past nine years, spearheading the development of a world-leading railway which is loved by its customers. He combines a brilliant grasp of the details of running the business with a passion for its people and the passengers. 

“Tony is passing the baton to a hugely experienced senior management team at Virgin Trains who are focused on how we can make services even better for our customers on what is on the backbone of the UK rail network.” 

Sir Brian Souter, Stagecoach Group chairman, said: “Tony, the wider management team and the thousands of people at the sharp end of delivering the train service for customers have done a superb job of making our joint vision of transforming rail travel a reality.” 

Tony  (Chris Gibb) lower down story

Collins said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed leading Virgin Trains and working with the wonderful staff to build a railway service that we can be truly proud of. We have come a long way in the last 10 years and we could not have done it without the amazing support of our people. It has been a great ride. 

Gibb said:  “Delivering great customer service truly is a team effort, requiring not only great staff, which we have in spades at Virgin Trains, but also co-operation between the different stakeholders across the industry. I am especially proud of the part I have played in bringing these important individual parties together to deliver improved performance.” 

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