Mark Carne, the chief executive of Network Rail, has advised the Board that he has decided to retire from the company later this year. The timing of his announcement ensures that a new chief executive will be established in the role before the start of the next five year regulatory control period which begins in April 2019.
Mr Carne joined Network Rail in January 2014. During his time as chief executive, he has steered the company through the period of being reclassified into the public sector, and skilfully handled the significant rebasing of the delivery plan that was required following the change in the company’s debt structure. He has led a transformational change in Network Rail, which has now been reflected in the whole regulatory structure of the industry, while delivering the biggest projects in the history of the company, such as the iconic London Bridge station, which opened on schedule last month, and Birmingham New Street station in 2015.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, the chairman of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said:
“Mark has done an outstanding job and I want to applaud him for what he has achieved in his time at Network Rail. His leadership steadied the ship during the challenging transition to a public sector organisation and he has been the architect behind the huge positive changes in the company, driving transformation, devolution and efficiency, with an emphasis on equality and diversity too. Three years ago he set out a strategic vision for a digital railway transformation which is now becoming a reality in our plans. Throughout this he has maintained a determined focus on delivering the biggest upgrades to the railway in a hundred years. Perhaps his biggest legacy, however, is the change in safety culture that he has very personally led and which has done so much to make the railway and our workforce safer.
“Mark and I have discussed the best timing for a transition and I am pleased that he will submit the strategic business plan for the next control period and lead the discussions with the regulator. This is the best plan that Network Rail has ever had and is built from the ground up by our devolved businesses. The timing of his decision also ensures that a new CE will have time to get their feet under the table before the next regulatory period starts. Although we understand and respect his decision, we are all delighted that Mark will continue to lead the company while the Board appoints his successor, and that the planned timing and transition will leave him in charge as we finalise the next control period plan and funding.”
Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport said:
“Mark has done an excellent job as Chief Executive of Network Rail, presiding over the biggest modernisation of our rail infrastructure since Victorian times. He has provided very strong industry leadership on safety and digital rail, and Network Rail has significantly improved the railway for its customers under his direction. His focus on devolving power to Network Rail’s route businesses has built the foundations for a more efficient and passenger-focussed organisation which supports the Government’s agenda to bring track and train closer together. Mark will of course continue to provide great leadership for Network Rail until he steps down in the summer, and I hope he will continue to play an important part in the transport sector in the future.”
Mark Carne commented:
“Britain’s railways matter to the lives of millions of people. The men and women who run the railway are enormously committed and it has been a privilege to lead the organisation at a time of huge investment and transformational change. I planned the timing of my announcement so there was stability while we developed the business plan for the next five year regulatory period, but so that there will also enough time for my successor to be firmly in place when it starts. I will leave knowing that the railway is in good hands and has a great plan for the future.”