Green switches points to Network Rail

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Chris Green, the chief executive of Virgin Trains and railway industry veteran of 40 years, is to join the board of Network Rail.

Chris Green, the chief executive of Virgin Trains and railway industry veteran of 40 years, is to join the board of Network Rail.

Directors of the track and signalling company will meet on Wednesday to ratify his appointment as a non-executive director and an announcement is expected the following day.

Mr Green, 61, retires from Virgin Trains in September, but industry sources said this might be advanced to allow him to start at Network Rail next month. Mr Green will be replaced by his deputy, Tony Collins.

Mr Green's appointment will take the state-backed company's non-executive directors to nine. He will join the likes of Ian McAllister, Network Rail's non-executive chairman; Mike Firth, the former head of corporate banking at HSBC; and Rob den Besten, the former chief executive of Netherlands Railways.

Network Rail and Virgin Trains refused to comment. But industry sources said that Network Rail wanted some UK train-operating-company experience on its board to match its new responsibilities, which include setting timetables.

Mr Green joined Virgin Rail in 1999. He was given the job of negotiating with Network Rail and its predecessor, Railtrack, over the problematic upgrade of the West Coast mainline and the introduction of Britain's first regular tilting-train service.

Mr Green, who started as a British Rail trainee in 1965 and became managing director of InterCity in 1992, has presided over some controversial decisions. In January, four Virgin Trains directors were invited to a meeting in a hotel where they were sacked. Dubbed the "night of the long knives", their departure followed criticism of the new Pendolino rolling stock on the West Coast.

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