The body that represents the rail industry has announced a new chair and a new structure, with the organisation's functions split under a chief executive and a director general.
It was announced last year that the current chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), Paul Plummer, would be leaving the role that Autumn.
The announcement of his departure was linked at the time to an apparent disagreement between rail companies and Network Rail over the RDG's response to the Williams review, although the RDG pointed out at the time that it in an organisation with its breadth of membership, it was 'inevitable' that not all members would agree on every detail of such issues.
He will now leave at the end of the year, to be replaced by a leadership team that the organisation described as ‘two distinct pillars’.
Jacqueline Starr, currently chief operating officer, will lead Service Delivery and be overall chief executive officer, while Andy Bagnall, currently chief strategy officer, will lead Advocacy and Change as director general.
After a four-year term, chair Chris Burchell will be replaced by Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail.
The RDG said the changes will ensure that it is ready to support potential reforms stemming from the Williams Review.
It said the plan for ‘two distinct pillars’ stems from the likelihood that the Government will create some form of ‘guiding mind’ to bring greater co-ordination to the railway.
Service Delivery will provide function, such as ticketing systems and online journey planning, that support the operation of the railway, while Advocacy and Change will ‘contribute to the development of railway policy while also facilitating cross industry collaboration on a wide range of issues’.
The RDG said that increasingly, on some of the Advocacy and Change issues, it has sought to represent and co-ordinate train operator members, for example, in making the case for reform of the industry, while seeking to support rail freight through the RDG Freight Board.
It added: ‘RDG still stands for collaboration across the industry as a whole including both Network Rail and HS2 who are key members.’
Mr Montgomery said: ‘With the railway at a critical point, facing as it does the twin challenges of recovering from the Covid crisis and major structural reform, strong leadership on behalf of the industry is crucial and the changes being made at RDG will deliver this.
‘Over recent years, Chris and Paul have built the RDG’s voice and its capability to deliver key services for the industry and they leave it in a strong position to navigate the future within a reformed system.
'I would like to thank them both for their tremendous contribution to the industry over many years.’