Network Rail has benefited from Carne bringing greater diversity
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,