Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne is to retire from the company later this year, allowing a successor to be established before the start of Control Period 6 (CP6) in April 2019.
Mr Carne joined Network Rail in January 2014. During his time as chief executive the company was reclassified into the public sector and Network Rail said he had ‘skilfully handled the significant rebasing of the delivery plan that was required following the change in the company's debt structure’.
It added that he had led a transformational change in the company, while delivering the biggest projects in its history, such as the remodelled Birmingham New Street station in 2015.
However at some points the sheer scale of the work facing Network Rail seemed to get too much and several projects in Control Period 5, including electrification had to put on hold.
In December 2014 disruption over the Christmas period was so bad it led Mr Carne to refuse to take his bonus as a gesture of good faith.
Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy CBE said he had discussed with Mr Carne ‘the best timing for a transition’ and revealed that the outgoing chief executive would submit the strategic business plan for CP6 and lead discussions with the regulator.
He 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.
‘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.’
Mark Carne said: ‘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 will leave knowing that the railway is in good hands and has a great plan for the future.’