Network Rail's 500 cut to three

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The Independent Online

More than 500 people applied to be chief executive of Network Rail, according to a memo sent to the voting members of Britain's rail infrastructure group.

The government-backed operator has more than 70 public members, who in effect act as shareholders to approve appointments and Network Rail's strategic direction.

The company could select a chief executive to replace the incumbent, Iain Coucher, next week, though the memo suggests it could be in early October. Around 80 people were considered serious candidates and the chairman, Rick Haythornthwaite, is now considering the final three.

Mr Haythornthwaite has stipulated that the new boss should have run a company that has a minimum £1bn turnover with international reach. It is thought that the preferred candidate is not British and has an oil & gas background.

Another expectation is that the new boss will review the management structure of the business soon after he or she starts.