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22.02.13

Whitehorn appointed Transport Systems Catapult chair

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has appointed Will Whitehorn as chairman of the new Transport Systems Catapult.

The Catapult is a technology and innovation centre set up by the TSB to focus on efficient and sustainable ways to move people and goods across national transport systems, including rail, road, sea and air.

Whitehorn will start his new role on March 1 and chair the board as well as assisting TSB in recruiting a new chief executive. The Catapult will work to ease congestion globally and prepare for the growing requirements for transport systems of the future.

Ongoing responsibilities will include ensuring the Catapult team meets its strategic objectives, agreed with Technology Strategy Board, as well as ensuring good corporate governance for the organisation.

Whitehorn established the original train franchise at Virgin, and his most recent role was as president of Virgin Galactic.

Universities and science minister David Willetts said: “An efficient transport system that can move people and goods in a cost effective way is vital to the success of the UK economy. The Transport Systems Catapult will make sure that new and emerging technology systems across road, rail, sea and air can be tested and demonstrated, helping to create a world class transport network.

“Will Whitehorn is a real expert in the transport field, with years of experience and a vast amount of knowledge. He will be able to take forward the development of the Catapult and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have to transport systems across the UK and beyond.”

Whitehorn said: “The UK's transport industry and the many service companies that support it are a huge global success story. While facing real issues that arise from the rapid pace of modernisation at home the industry continues to operate infrastructure for tens of millions of customers every day.

“The Technology Strategy Board has shown real vision by setting up this Catapult as a centre of excellence for an industry that has the opportunity to be world-beater and able to give people in the UK an experience of travel that is world-class at the same time. I look forward to playing my part in turning that vision into a reality.”

Iain Gray, chief executive of the TSB said: “I am delighted that Will Whitehorn has accepted the position as Chair of the Transport Systems Catapult.  He brings a wealth of experience across the transport sector and his knowledge and networks will be invaluable as we establish this exciting new Catapult centre.

“The Transport Systems Catapult will position the UK as the leading provider of innovative and integrated transport solutions to the rest of the world, estimated to be worth £900bn by 2025.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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