Chris Burchell appointed as new RDG chairman
Chris Burchell, UK trains managing director at Arriva, has been appointed as chairman of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
His appointment was ratified by RDG directors at a meeting held on Tuesday 29 November, and he will commence his new role from 1 January 2017.
Burchell succeeds the RDG’s previous chairman Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, who has chaired the RDG Board for a standard three-year term since December 2013.
Burchell said of his appointment: “The RDG exists to enable train companies and Network Rail to succeed in transforming and delivering the modern, successful railway that Britain needs and wants, and I am proud to have been asked to lead its important work delivering that. I also want to pay tribute to three years of great leadership by Martin Griffiths.
“This is an important point for our railways and further reform is essential to meet the demands of customers and support the UK’s economy, and I’m looking forward to working with all our stakeholders to help shape this crucial agenda.”
Burchell commented that while railway passenger numbers have doubled over the last twenty years, growth has brought challenges as railways have become more crowded and customer expectations rise, particularly regarding better services and improved technology.
However, he added that the industry is responding through Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and offered assurances that the customer agenda will remain at the “front and centre” of modernisation.
Griffiths, the departing chairman, said: “It has been a huge privilege to be part of such a pivotal period in the development of Britain's railway and I wish Chris Burchell well in the next stage of that important journey.
“A massive amount of work is underway to transform the travel experience for our customers. But we will only complete the work we have started and deliver the railway our customers want by all partners working together.”
Burchell was also congratulated on his appointment by Mark Carne, RDG deputy chair and Network Rail CEO, who said: “The RDG is crucial to ensuring that the railway in Britain continues to modernise and improve for the ever-growing number of passengers and freight customers that use it.
“I’m proud of the work Martin and I have been able to deliver to help rail companies meet the needs of our customers. I congratulate Chris on his appointment and look forward to working alongside him to continue the important work Martin has led for the last three years.”
Burchell began his railway career as an area production manager at Railtrack, and worked as director of operations at Thames Trains after a period as business implementation manager at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Prior to taking up his current role at Arriva, Burchell served as managing director at Southern Railway between 2004 and 2014. He was also chair of the RDG’s cross-industry National Task Force between 2010 and 2016.
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