Thursday, August 24, 2017

Transportation engineer responsible for building rail networks in Scotland and England hired as new Metrolinx CEO

The Board of Directors of Metrolinx have appointed experienced rail operator Phil Verster as its new President and CEO.

Over the last 12 years, Mr. Verster has overseen operations and major construction of some of the most complex and customer intensive rail services in England, Scotland and Ireland.  Among his most recent assignments as a Managing Director of Britain’s Network Rail have been running Scotland’s railway operations, the ScotRail Alliance, and initiating work on the East West Railway, a new rail line linking Britain’s high tech corridor between Oxford and Cambridge.

Mr. Verster was selected following an international search on behalf of Metrolinx.  His start date is October 1, 2017.

Rob Prichard, Chairman of the Metrolinx Board, pointed to the unique set of criteria in Metrolinx’s search:

“We’re implementing a $34-billion transit build – the biggest transit investment in Ontario’s history and one of the largest in the world today.  We’re quadrupling the number of weekly GO Train trips - from 1,500 to 6,000.  We’re electrifying key GO rail lines to provide 15-minute express service all day long throughout the region, and we’re building new LRT lines to tie the region together.

“Moreover, as we execute this massive transformation, we need to continue providing the current high level of daily transit service that people throughout the region depend on.  We sought as our next CEO a person with deep domain expertise and substantial executive experience operating and building railways.  There are few people in the transit and rail industry with the know-how, experience and executive skills to drive transformation and maintain service at the same time.  Phil Verster is one of them.

“Mr. Verster has graduate degrees in both engineering and business and a post-graduate diploma in law.  He has operated, built and electrified commuter rail.  He has the expertise and executive experience we need to deliver on our ambitious agenda, leading the 4,000 employees of Metrolinx and working with all of our partners.  We are delighted the Mr. Verster has chosen to join Metrolinx.”

At ScotRail, Mr. Verster oversaw the delivery of $3 billion of new electrification of the Scottish railroad.

Most recently, at the East West Railway, Mr. Verster led successful efforts to re-launch the project through creative partnerships with the municipalities and local leaders it will serve while simultaneously designing and engineering the project in the most cost effective way.
Mr. Verster said: “I am very excited about joining the team of dedicated women and men at Metrolinx, and to be part of one of the most exciting transit transformations taking place anywhere in the world.  I believe Ontario is the place to be.  Not just because of the very large scale of investment being made in transit, but because of the dynamism, optimism and quality of life that has made this region so envied all over the world.

“At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that all the investment, all the construction, all the new trains and services are not an end in themselves.  They’re about improving the experience of passengers, contributing to communities and to the economy.”

TTC CEO Andy Byford welcomed Mr. Verster’s appointment: “I am delighted Phil Verster is coming to Toronto to lead Metrolinx.  We worked together in London just over a decade ago in an executive team that turned around a poorly performing train operating company.  He will be a superb leader for Metrolinx.  He is smart, driven, good at delivery and gets things done. He will deliver both the projects and the change agenda for Metrolinx and GO.  I very much look forward to working with him as our partner at the TTC.“

Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail in Britain said: “Phil Verster is a great leader, a loss to the UK rail industry and a gain to the Canadian railroad industry.  He has made a great contribution to ScotRail and to Network Rail as a Managing Director for the last six years.  He has a great customer focus and a strong track record in supporting and developing teams to improve customer service and train service performance.”

1 comment:

deepfish said...

"The managing director of the ScotRail Alliance is leaving to take up a new role in England.
Phil Verster, who has been in the post since May 2015, is to become managing director of the East West rail project between Oxford and Cambridge.
The 53-year-old has been facing intense pressure in recent months, because of the rail service's failure to meet targets on punctuality and reliability.
The identity of his successor will be announced in the coming days.
Earlier this week, Mr Verster sparked a row at Holyrood over who would pay for free travel for season ticket holders as compensation for ScotRail train delays."

From Jan of this year.

Call me a starry eyed optimist, but I think he'll fit in snugly with GO's operating culture...