Carphone millionaire Ross takes the wheel at National Express

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The Independent Online

The train and bus operator National Express yesterday appointed one of Britain's richest men as its new chairman. David Ross, 38, who has made a fortune worth an estimated £400m from Carphone Warehouse, will take up the job in May.

The train and bus operator National Express yesterday appointed one of Britain's richest men as its new chairman. David Ross, 38, who has made a fortune worth an estimated £400m from Carphone Warehouse, will take up the job in May.

Mr Ross is deputy chairman of Carphone Warehouse. He joined it in 1989 and was one of the three entrepreneurs who went on to float the business. He has been a non-executive director of National Express since 2001.

His new post at National Express makes him one of the youngest chairman of a FTSE 250 company. National Express, which is valued at £890m, is Britain's biggest train operator and next week formally launches its latest franchise, Greater Anglia.

Mr Ross hit the headlines earlier this week for less happy reasons when his partner, the former lap dancer Michelle Ross, pleaded guilty to benefits fraud at Kingston Magistrates' Court. Ms Ross admitted receiving £8,000 in housing and income support between 2000 and 2002 while earning £25,000 in modelling fees. She met Mr Ross, who coincidentally shares her surname, by chance as she was rushing to catch a plane at Heathrow in October2001. Fourteen months later they had a baby together, Carl Cosmo Thomas, who is now heir to Mr Ross's Carphone Warehouse fortune.

Mr Ross lives in a 700-year-old country estate, Nevill Holt Hall in Leicestershire, which he bought for around £2m four years ago. He is also a non-executive director of the newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror and Wembley Stadium and is a council member of Sports England.

The outgoing chairman of National Express, Michael Davies, earned £135,000 last year. Phil White, the chief executive, received £1.04m - a 33 per cent increase on his pay in 2002. Mr White's package included a £330,000 performance bonus and £220,000 in benefits, of which £185,000 represented a pensions top-up.

Mr Davies said that Mr Ross brought a valuable perspective to the board since becoming a director and had been a "forthright contributor" to its thinking on the strategic development of the group and ways of improving customer service.

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