Network Rail executives tipped to be in the running for chief executive post

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The Independent Online

Network Rail directors Robin Gisby and Simon Kirby have emerged as the leading internal candidates to replace its chief executive, Iain Coucher, who resigned earlier this month.

Although an external appointment remains the most likely option, Mr Gisby, the operations and customer services director, and Mr Kirby, the investment projects boss have been tipped for interviews. Headhunters are expected to be appointed soon.

Mr Coucher, who will continue in the role until his successor is named, is leaving at a time when unions and media have heavily criticised the taxpayer-funded group for awarding management £2.3m in bonuses. He has been with the rail infrastructure group for eight years, the past three as chief executive.

Network Rail sources insisted that Mr Coucher did not leave because of a clash of styles with the chairman, Rick Haythornthwaite. The two men will be leading the search to identify Mr Coucher's successor.