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NR’s New Non-threatening Non-execs

Tuesday, January 12 2010

Straws in the wind…

Janis Kong and Lawrie Haynes. Photos Network Rail.

Network Rail announced the appointment of two new non-executive directors today, Janis Kong and Lawrie Hayes. Rick Haythornthwaite, Network Rail’s chairman, is barely 6 months in post and the appointment of the first new directors under his regime is the first indication of the strategic direction in which he wants the ‘not-for-profit’ infrastructure company to go.

Janis Kong (59) has held senior positions in Britain’s airport industry: former main board director of BAA plc (2002- 2006), former chairman Heathrow Express 2005 to 2006, former chairman of Heathrow Airport (2001-2006), managing director of Gatwick airport (1997-2001). Her main claim to fame is that she was a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Remuneration Committee, which approved at £20m pension deal for disgraced RBS ex-chairman Sir Fred Goodwin.

Lawrie Haynes (57) was appointed President of Nuclear at Rolls-Royce Group Plc earlier this year. After a 5 year stint as the first ever chief executive of the Highways Agency (1994-1999), he was a main board director and former chief executive of BNFL plc (2003-2007), and then became chief executive of the consultancy, White Young Green plc (2007-2009). Haynes has adapted the organisations he leads to comply with the political whims of his masters while at the same time being prepared to lead the employees that work from him ‘from the front’.

Cynics will conclude that both Kong and Haynes offer Network Rail a ‘safe pair of hands’ who will not upset NR’s senior executives by relating their remuneration to real performance, or try to challenge the government by pointing out some of the absurdities that arise from the way the Department for Transport attempts to run Britain’s railways.

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