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Coucher explains decision to quit Network Rail

Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher has given his reasons for quitting as head of the rail operator

He has said that after eight years with the business – three as chief executive and five as deputy chief executive - he could not see himself staying for a further five years. And that would be what he would have to commit to in order to see through the negotiations with the regulator for the companies CP5 spending period for 2014 to 2019, a Network Rail spokesman explained.

“Negotiations are due to start in 2012. The CEO really needs to be there throughout all the negotiations,” Network Rail said. A new CEO would need at least a year to understand the company and the issues which means they would need to be in place by 2011. Hence the timing of Coucher’s resignation.

Coucher has said he will stay at the company until a new CEO is appointed and will be involved in the selection.

Speculation that large cuts were being demanded by government from Network Rail’s £35bn current CP4 spending period were quashed by the company. 

“There would have to be an interim review with regulator approval and that takes 18 months,” the spokesman said.

The company is however seeking £4bn of efficiency savings. And suppliers to the sector are expecting a tough year.

“Atkins told analysts this week that the UK rail market was going to volatile and awful,” said analyst at Arden Partners Geoff Allum.

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is typical of UK Ltd.

    "A new CEO would need at least a year to understand the company and the issues".

    If the management worked their way up through the industry instead of being one of the current breed of managers, who of course can manage anything, (why not get Alex Ferguson to manage the railways? He is a good football manager) they would be familiar with most of the requirements of the job and perhaps understand the real issues.

    It is time we got back to teaching management on the job. Then, when the work and the company is understood, by all means study for an MBA or whatever, but good managers are not created in academia.

    This applies to many aspectd of governance in the UK and Europe, not just Network Rail

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