Former Shell vice president Marke Carne has been named as successor to David Higgins as chief executive of Network Rail.
Carne will join the organisation on 6 January before formally taking over from Higgins in April.
At Shell, Carne was responsible for business in the Middle East and North Africa.
Before taking on that role he was executive vice president and managing director of BG Group in Europe and Central Asia.
After 21 years in a variety of roles with Shell including running Shell’s oil and gas platforms in the North Sea and as managing director of Brunei Shell Petroleum.
Earlier in his career he helped lead the company’s response to the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea.
Network Rail chairman Richard Parry Jones said Carne’s expertise in safety critical environments was a key skill.
“Each and every day, Network Rail has to provide a safe and reliable railway for the travelling public as well as the train and freight operating companies, at the same time as working to improve the network to help us meet unprecedented growth in demand,” he said. “That poses a unique set of challenges for any chief executive.”