The former chief technical officer of the Ford Motor Company in the UK, Professor Richard Parry-Jones CBE, is to chair Network Rail.
He will replace Rick Haythornthwaite after the annual general meeting in July. Says David Higgins, chief executive, ‘I am very pleased that Richard has agreed to become our new chairman following the end of Rick’s tenure in July. His very strong engineering background will be invaluable to us and I look forward to working with him in his new role.’
Born in 1951 Richard Parry-Jones joined Ford as an apprentice and in 38 years with the company rose to be group vice president in charge of global product development and chief technical officer.
Network Rail is proposing to streamline its board reducing public members from 80 to 40.
In a further development the current senior independent director, Steve Russell, has decided not to stand for re-election at the 2012 AGM. His position will be taken by Keith Ludeman, who has been a member of the board since July 2011.
Says Richard Parry-Jones, ‘It is a great honour to have the opportunity to serve Great Britain’s railway network and its users, and I very much look forward to working with my fellow directors and supporting the executive team in continuing the strong progress being made to make up for lost time during past decades of underinvestment.
‘I am encouraged by the strong cross-party support for increased investment in our railways to deliver a better service to our customers and to put in place the foundation stones that will provide better value for taxpayers in the future.’