Network Rail members look to veto ex-RBS director

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The Independent Online

Network Rail members are plotting to oust Janis Kong (left) from her proposed non-executive director role, because of her association with the failed Royal Bank of Scotland.

Several members are waging an informal campaign to vote against ratifying Ms Kong's appointment at the annual general meeting in July.

Many of the members, who in effect have the same rights as shareholders in publicly listed companies, are uneasy with Ms Kong because she was a non-executive at RBS during the tenure of Sir Fred Goodwin. Ms Kong was a member of the remuneration committee when Sir Fred's pension pot was bolstered by at least £20m. Ms Kong was axed by RBS last year as part of a boardroom cull of Sir Fred-era directors, who were blamed for failing to curb the former chief executive's risk-taking.

It is understood that a significant minority of Network Rail members are undecided on ratifying her appointment. The position of Ms Kong, along with other proposed appointments, is on the agenda at a members' meeting on Tuesday.

One member said he had "a number of questions" about Ms Kong, although the central issue was "the RBS thing". However, Ms Kong has had an illustrious career, marred only by her time at RBS. She has been chairman of Heathrow Airport and is currently a non-executive director at Kingfisher, the Ftse 100 listed owner of B&Q.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "When the board decided to invite Janis Kong to join them they did so in full expectation that a number of members would object on point of principle. Janis's experience in the fields of project management and customer service, especially at BAA, were the overwhelming reasons she was chosen. Feedback from the majority of members has been positive."