Manfred Leger is to take over from Jim Cohen who is retiring as group managing director with responsibility for rail.

Balfour Beatty has announced a new group managing director for its rail business. Manfred Leger will take over from Jim Cohen who will retire in Februrary 2007. Cohen is also resigning from the Balfour Beatty board.

Coehn joined the group in 1993, initially developing the group's business in Asia. He has held board responsibility for rail since 1996 and, from 1994 to 2005, for the development of the group's PPP Investments business.

Manfred Leger is currently managing director of Balfour Beatty Rail Power Systems, the German-based rail electrification project business.

Balfour Beatty chairman, Sir David John said: "Jim Cohen has been instrumental in the successful growth of both our international rail business and our PPP investments business."

Jim Cohen is also a director at Metronet the tube company recently criticised by London's transport commissioner Peter Hendy for the late completion of maintenance work.