Beleaguered Railtrack seeks `big hitter' to replace Edmonds

John Edmonds, chief executive of Railtrack, is expected to step down early to be replaced by someone from outside the rail industry. Mr Edmonds is 61 and his contract expires next March.

Sir Bob Horton, Railtrack's chairman, is thought to be keen to bring in a new chief executive with a wider commercial background who can push investment in the rail network ahead more quickly. Although Railtrack said there was no conflict and would not comment on the timing of Mr Edmonds' departure, Sir Bob is believed to be dissatisfied over the slow pace of investment in infrastructure.

Under Mr Edmonds, Railtrack has also had increasingly severe public spats with the rail regulator, John Swift QC, and the Government. He joined the company, then British Rail, in 1960.

Railtrack, which has already employed London-based headhunter Spencer Stuart, is believed to be looking outside the rail and utility sector for a "big hitter" with broad commercial experience.

One observer said the change was welcome: "The problem with Railtrack is that it is still hide-bound by public sector thinking. British Rail has always looked for ways not to spend money and that is rather the feeling with John Edmonds.

"The company needs someone who wants to spend and is committed to investment - someone with a bit more flair and flexibility."

After floating in May last year, Railtrack was heavily criticised over low levels of investment in renewing and expanding the rail network. Analysts say that pressure from the rail regulator to make Railtrack more accountable and Transport Secretary John Prescott's recent hints that Railtrack is liable for the windfall tax increases pressure for change.

"Railtrack's boss should be someone who can negotiate firmly with the regulator, someone who's been around the block a bit more than Edmonds," another analyst said.

However, some analysts think Railtrack will find it hard to attract someone of the right calibre. One said: "I think there is a possible problem for someone coming into this culture from the commercial sector. Over the past six months Railtrack has gone backwards."

Pay will also be a factor. In 1995/6 Mr Edmonds earned pounds 136,000 basic salary and pounds 216,000 with benefits and bonuses: "They will certainly have to pay the new man more."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Junior Research Analyst - Recruitment Resourcer

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £25K: SThree: SThree Group has been well estab...

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism