Senior management team confirmed for new InterCity East Coast franchise.

Virgin Trains East Coast to launch on 1 March 2015.

Over £140m to be invested in delivering more seats, more services, new trains and a more personalised customer service.

Stagecoach and Virgin today (12 February 2015) announced a number of new senior management appointments for Virgin Trains East Coast, the new company delivering rail services on the East Coast main line from 1 March.

The Virgin Trains East Coast team will be headed by David Horne, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the rail industry. Most recently David was Managing Director of Stagecoach-owned East Midlands Trains.

The new team includes:

-Managing Director – David Horne
-Finance Director – Richard Bodicoat
-Commercial Director – Andy Sparkes
-People Director – Clare Burles
-Engineering Director – Jack Commandeur
-Major Projects Director – Tim Hedley-Jones
-Safety & Operations Director – Warrick Dent

An announcement will be made about the Marketing Director and the Customer Experience Director in due course.

Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive for Stagecoach Group said:
“We’ve got some really exciting plans in place that will build on the successes of the East Coast team and will deliver a great new railway for our customers.”

“Our new Virgin Trains East Coast senior team have a wide skill set and experience gathered from many years of working in the rail industry and other sectors. This team will be fundamental in delivering a successful business and I am pleased to welcome them on board.”

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank those directors from the current East Coast team who are not part of the new team going forward and wish them all the very best for the future.”

David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains East Coast, added:
“Our new team has been carefully hand-picked to ensure we are in the very best position to take the new company forward. We’ve got major plans in place to transform the service our customers experience when travelling with us and I feel confident that with the new team in place, we will be in the best possible place to launch Virgin Trains East Coast on 1 March.”

Over £140 million will be invested in the new franchise delivering major improvements for customers. Stagecoach and Virgin have exciting plans to transform the on-train experience and deliver a more personalised service, with at-seat food ordering from the buffet car and hot food available to passengers in standard class. Passengers will also benefit from new trains, an improved timetable with faster journeys and better connections, more services to new destinations, better value fares, new technology and a range of station and accessibility enhancements.

Brief biographies of the new senior management team follow:

· Finance Director – Richard Bodicoat. Richard joined Stagecoach in 2005 following a career in finance and audit across several industries. At Stagecoach he has worked in both rail franchise bidding and as Finance Director for East Midlands Trains between 2007 and 2010. Richard led the financial aspects of the successful Virgin Trains East Coast bid.

· Commercial Director – Andy Sparkes. Andy started his career as a British Rail Graduate Management Trainee and has also worked for Alstom in Paris and the Strategic Rail Authority. Since 2005, Andy has worked in Stagecoach’s Business Development team and was Bid Director for the successful Virgin Trains East Coast bid and is now leading the Transition Team.

· People Director – Clare Burles. Clare started her railway career working for Intercity train operator Midland Mainline and then moved into East Midlands Trains where she became HR Director in 2011. Clare is passionate about encouraging more women to join the rail industry and is on the board of the Women in Rail Group.

· Engineering Director – Jack Commandeur. Jack has been Engineering Director at East Coast since July 2012. Educated as an Engineer with primarily an aviation background, he has been in the rail sector since 2008 and has broad experience of working in the UK and overseas in South Africa and The Netherlands.

· Safety and Operations Director – Warrick Dent. Warrick joins Virgin Trains East Coast from Network Rail where he has held the position of Area Director Central for the London North East & East Midlands Route for the past two years. Warrick has over 27 years of operational safety and performance expertise gained within the rail infrastructure business and has extensive experience of the East Coast main line.

· Major Projects Director – Tim Hedley-Jones. Tim has worked for the Intercity East Coast franchise for 16 years. He began his railway career with East Coast first in a Compliance role and then managing on-board train crew in Newcastle. When DOR took over management of the franchise, Tim became Property and Projects Director overseeing investment of more than £25m in the franchise’s stations. Tim has also been responsible for the Compliance, Procurement and the Intercity Express Programme teams.