Southern’s rail operator appoints new chief operating officer

Nick Brown, new chief operating officer at Govia Thameslink Railway (photo submitted) SUS-160926-094857001
Nick Brown, new chief operating officer at Govia Thameslink Railway (photo submitted) SUS-160926-094857001
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The embattled rail operator running Southern services has appointed a new chief operating officer.

Nick Brown, 56, joins Govia Thameslink Railway with more than 35 years of experience in the industry, and was until recently managing director for London Underground and rail at Transport for London.

He will replace Dyan Crowther, who is set to become the new chief executive officer of HS1 Ltd (High Speed 1).

GTR has been locked in a bitter dispute with the RMT union for months over plans to change the role of conductors to on-board supervisors on Southern routes.

Staff shortages have left passengers facing constant delays and cancellations.

Mr Brown will report to Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR.

Mr Horton said: “We’re delighted that Nick is joining GTR. He has a first class pedigree in the transport industry, a wealth of experience and a strong track record of leading businesses in the rail and bus sectors.

“Nick’s broad experience and intimate knowledge of the sector makes him ideally placed to help us achieve our business goals and deliver a better railway and excellent service for our customers going forward. I’m looking forward to him coming on board and I know he’ll add real value to the business.

“Dyan carries with her into her new venture with HS1 my warmest congratulations and grateful thanks for her significant contribution to GTR over these past two years.”

Responding to the news, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The appointment of Nick Brown as COO at Govia Thameslink Railways opens the door to the real possibility of a new approach and new talks over the threat to the role of the guards, and the sacrificing of passenger safety, on the Southern Rail services.

“The union will be writing to Mr Brown today paving the way for those talks to begin as soon as possible.

“With fourteen days of strike action set up right into December there is no time to lose in getting genuine and meaningful talks back on track now that there is a new chief operating officer in place.”

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