UNION RAILWAYS managing director John Neerhout is to take charge of troubled Channel Tunnel Rail Link operator London & Continental Railways as the company restructures to prepare for a two phase construction programme.
Neerhout was this week expected to replace Sir Derek Hornby, who will quit LCR after stepping down as chairman.
LCR's board has approved Neerhout's appointment, though his final details had still to be resolved as NCE went to press. It is understood his new role may embrace that of chief executive Adam Mills who has offered to resign. LCR wants to keep Mills on, though he is unlikely to be senior to Neerhout.
Mills and Hornby are strongly associated with the financial crisis which engulfed LCR. Their removal is seen by the City as vital to LCR's future credibility.
Neerhout is no stranger to crisis projects and is used to the sort of tough negotiations which will be needed.
He was brought in to Eurotunnel as managing director in 1990 to act as a buffer between chairman Sir Alastair Morton and contractor TML. At the time acrimony between contractor and client threatened to plunge that project into bankruptcy.
(see Commentary page 12)