Sir David Higgins set to stand down as chief executive next year

david higgins

Network Rail boss Sir David Higgins is to stand down from the organisation next year after failing to commit to stay until 2020.

Higgins, the former boss of the Olympic Delivery Authority and English Partnerships, was only appointed as chief executive at Network Rail in 2011, and has since been overseeing a programme of procurement reform at the body.

It is understood that Network Rail has already starting searching for his successor, who is likely to take over running of the body for the next “control period”, from 2014-19.

Higgins has been instilling a partnership ethos at the body since his arrival, also reforming the body’s major projects division run by Simon Kirby, to put it on a more commercial footing.

Network Rail is due to spend £24.4bn on capital projects in the period from 2014-19, in an investment programme the government claims is the largest since Victorian times.Simon Kirby and Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations, have been named as possible successors to Higgins, although the organisation may also look outside its own staff.

Higgins’ exact departure date has not been finalised, with his departure occurring after Network Rail chair Richard Parry-Jones asked him to commit to stay at the body for the bulk of the next control period.

It is understood that Higgins declined to make that commitment, leading to his “entirely amicable” departure.