Network Rail’s chief executive Mark Carne is to retire, with a search starting for his successor to be brought in by the start of its next financial control period, CP6.
Carne has overseen the problem-ridden CP5 period, originally worth £37.5bn. It has been dogged by some problematic projects, particularly rail electrification where the Great Western scheme suffered a £1.2bn cost increase in one year.
In an interview with New Civil Engineer in October, Carne said: “Control Period 5 [2014-2019] has been unbelievably challenging, as we have had to deliver it under a set of financial constraints under which [the system] was not designed. We couldn’t borrow money so the system doesn’t work.”
For CP6, the structure of Network Rail has been overhauled with it moving to a model based on regional management and new major enhancements being bid for outside the control period structure.
Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy 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.”
He added: “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.”
Carne said: “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.”
He will retire from Network Rail this summer.