Giordano likely to snub Byers call to chair Railtrack's heir

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The Independent Online

Richard Giordano, the chairman of the gas giant BG, is likely to snub any approach from the Government to chair the non-profit company planned to be the successor to Railtrack, friends said yesterday after it emerged that the 67-year-old is the preferred candidate for the vacancy.

It is thought that Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Transport, is considering approaching Mr Giordano this week about taking on the part-time role in Railtrack's not-for-profit heir. There has been no contact between them yet.

Associates of Mr Giordano voiced scepticism yesterday that he would warm to an overture from Mr Byers, noting that he has a portfolio of non-executive directorships and vast private wealth.

Mr Giordano has worked with the Government before, in a stint on the Central Electricity Generating Board.

"It's hard to see why he would want to accept," said one friend. "His present contracts allow him to keep office facilities after retirement. My guess is that he wouldn't want the job."

Mr Byers is likely to announce an appointment either at the end of this week or early the next.

The not-for-profit company is to submit a bid to take control of the railways to Ernst & Young, Railtrack's administrators. WestLB, the German bank, leads a consortium tabling a rival bid which would see David James, the company doctor brought in by the Government to rescue the Millennium Dome, run the railways.

A Government spokesman dismissed weekend reports that Mr Byers had decided to drop plans for the so-called company limited by guarantee (CLG). "The Government is working on its own proposal. All third-party bids will be considered too," he said.