Net­work Rail has ben­e­fited from Carne bring­ing greater di­ver­sity

Rail (UK) - - Open Access -

In the ar­ti­cle ‘Time to put an ex­pe­ri­enced rail­way boss in charge at Net­work Rail’ ( RAIL 847), the writer re­ally misses the point - how the rail­way as a whole, and Net­work Rail in par­tic­u­lar, has ben­e­fited from a CEO with a dif­fer­ent (non-rail­way) back­ground.

Any ef­fec­tive team needs a mix­ture of back­grounds, of ex­pe­ri­ences, and of gen­der. The Ex­ec­u­tive and Board at Net­work Rail has that mix and is al­ways seek­ing to add to its di­ver­sity. Too many peo­ple from sim­i­lar back­grounds with sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences can be prone to ‘fol­low-the-leader’ and not to chal­lenge the sta­tus quo. There are a cat­a­logue of big cor­po­rate fail­ings that can tes­tify to this fact (for ex­am­ple, RBS).

Of course, hav­ing a CEO with a rail­way back­ground can bring ben­e­fits, but so can hav­ing a chief with a very dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive.

The ref­er­enced ar­ti­cle trips over it­self to high­light the rail­way’s proud safety record, and for the pas­sen­gers that’s true, but it to­tally ig­nores the complacency that ex­isted in our in­dus­try about ac­cept­ing the reg­u­lar death of a rail­way worker as ‘nor­mal’.

Mark Carne, com­ing from the oil and gas in­dus­try where he was used to a work­force safety record ten times bet­ter than ours, was shocked by the rail­way in­dus­try’s record and ap­proach. His unique per­spec­tive helped us all to change - a change that has saved lives.

A great team needs di­ver­sity. A great team needs a mix of back­grounds and ex­pe­ri­ences. What it doesn’t need is a pre-set, blink­ered view to re­cruit­ment. We need to at­tract the best peo­ple with great lead­er­ship qual­i­ties and vi­sion, and a per­son who can add to the mix of the team that’s al­ready in place. Sir Peter Hendy, Chair­man,

Net­work Rail

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