Bowker shake-up begins at SRA with departure of chief executive

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Mike Grant quit last night as chief executive of the Government's Strategic Rail Authority and is expected to collect a pay-off worth around £350,000.

Mr Grant, who was brought in from Eurotunnel by the SRA's former chairman, Sir Alastair Morton, has two years of his contract left to run and is on a salary of £170,000. His position has been in doubt since Richard Bowker, the former Virgin Trains chairman, replaced Sir Alastair as head of the SRA last month.

The shake-up came as the SRA took charge of the new not-for-profit company being set up to succeed Railtrack.

Mr Bowker also announced that a leading figure in the Government's public-private partnership initiative has been given a key role in setting up the new company limited by guarantee (CLG), which will take over the rail network.

Adrian Montague, deputy chairman of Partnerships UK and a senior adviser to the investment bank Société Générale, will be deputy chairman of the new company. Ian McAllister, the head of Ford UK, is its chairman. The chief executive of the CLG bid team is due to be announced this week, perhaps as early as today.

Mr Montague is a former chief executive of the Treasury Taskforce, the forerunner to Partnerships UK, and also advised the Government on the PPP for the London Underground.

He will resign from Partnerships UK at the end of this month to take up his role at the new CLG where he will work on secondment from Société Générale until it has completed the purchase of Railtrack from the administrators. UBS Warburg has been confirmed as financial adviser to the CLG while legal advice will be provided by Linklaters & Alliance.