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Network Rail chief executive to stand down

Sir David Higgins is to leave his post as chief executive of Network Rail, it has been reported.

He is expected to stand down after the start of the next control period in April 2014. The news has been described as a blow by government sources.

Network Rail has not commented so far.

Sir David joined the board of Network Rail as a non-executive director in April 2010 and took up the post of chief executive in 2011. He never intended to stay until 2019, but appears to be leaving earlier than planned. The advance notice will allow Network Rail to begin looking for a replacement in good time for his changeover next year.

He is highly regarded throughout the rail industry, and was previously successful as the head of the Olympic Delivery Authority. His leadership at Network Rail has increased accountability of the company, increased safety and cut down costs.

But the recent approval of a performance-related bonus scheme has been criticised at a time when Network Rail is failing to meet ORR targets on punctuality.

If Sir David does leave before April 2015, he would relinquish the right to a 100% bonus on top of his £577,000 annual salary.

Potential replacements include Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations, and Simon Kirby, managing director of infrastructure projects.

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said in a statement: “Sir David Higgins has done a good job in turning NR around after the difficulties experienced under the previous regime. He removed its bullying culture and placed a new emphasis on safety which had been sadly lacking. He was slowly restoring the company's reputation and we would have liked him to stay around to finish the job he had started. He will be a hard act to follow.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Simon Pawelko   26/07/2013 at 18:42

i am sorry to see mr higgins leave the company, though i never met the person as i am just a trackman and bottom of the larder. but any way i now hope the powers that be decide to give the top job to a person who knows the railway. and not give the job to another director from another utility company were they will stay for a while and take the bonus and run. we need someone who wants to see networkrail succeed and stay the course. best of luck to the new head director???.

Bullying Culture   27/07/2013 at 21:44

If you ask any member of the RMT union you will find that the bullying culture is still out there, the company has lost, and is still loosing, many good employees, prehaps it is to diffucult for this to be eradicated by him!

RP   28/07/2013 at 12:48

The Bullying Culture has not gone from NR. A friend of mine was sacked after an incompetent local mananger set him up. 20 years experience out the door for a trivial disagreement. No NR needs a Chief Exec with much more experience of the operational railway. The piece from RTM is a bit sycophantic.

Nonsuchmike   03/08/2013 at 19:10

Co-operation is the key. If workers and workers are at loggerheads, and Managers are each striving for their own little kingdom/backyard, then the net result in ten years time will be a railway worse than it is now. However, if each side would only see the sense in not only talking to each other, but also LISTENING to each other and asking themselves how best to plan something which will work better, then maybe our children will have a fighting chance of inheriting a decent transport system.

Ballast In The Blood   06/09/2013 at 03:21

What a surprise to hear that "if you were to ask any member of the RMT union, you will find that the bullying culture is still out there"! It's not as if the RMT union, headed up by a champagne socialist like Bob Crow, who surrounds himself with all his cronies, is not a big bully! Consider the fact that it's because of the RMT union that companies like Network Rail cannot get rid of staff who are utterly sh*t, and a complete waste of space. Bullying in the workplace is wrong at all levels, absolutely, but there is no shortage of cronyism and bullying in the union either, eh Bob?

Bully Boys   21/01/2014 at 10:21

I worked for Network Rail for 15 Years and was happy for 8 of these very happy I would have stayed at Network Rail for the rest of my life. The bullying in the workplace was hell, not just from 1 person but from senior managers as well, no-one was interested no-one wanted to help so after 15 years one had to leave. I begged to be made redundant to be moved into another Department but still no-one listened. I had no option but to walk out the door as my sanity and health were now been affected. When I handed in my notice no-one asked me to stay or to re-think. If you work for this company beware as you are just a number they do not care about you at all. Its the worst company I have ever worked for. Luckily I now work fro a fantastic company who cares about me as a human being, and I am so happy. The scars from Network Rail's Bully boys still live on though. Its so so sad. I left The company in 2012

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