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Darbandi to lead Caledonian Sleeper

Darbandi to lead Caledonian Sleeper

Serco has appointed Kathryn Darbandi as the new managing director for the Caledonian Sleeper service. 

She will take up her new role in January.

Darbandi has extensive experience in the travel and tourism industry and has previously held senior roles at US group Travel Leaders, as well as at Thomas Cook and Tui.

Commenting on the appointment John Whitehurst, managing director of transport for Serco, said: “We are delighted that Kathryn is joining us to be the new managing director of the Caledonian Sleeper service.

“She brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the travel business, with a strong focus on leadership and customers.


“With the new carriages successfully introduced into service, Kathryn comes on board at an exciting time as we continue to develop the service for our passengers.”

Darbandi will succeed Ryan Flaherty, who has taken up a new role in another Serco business. 

She faces a number of problems at the London to Scotland rail operator.

Strike action from the Rail Maritime & Transport union in a dispute over staff rest areas saw all Caledonian Sleeper departures cancelled earlier this month.

The service also saw losses increase by 48 per cent, from £3.08 million to £4.57 million, in 2019-2020, while the introduction of new rolling stock has been beset by delays.

During the lockdown period two of Caledonian Sleeper’s routes were also suspended, while onboard service was cut back.

Darbandi added: “I am delighted to be taking up this new role.

“The Caledonian Sleeper is a world-class service with a first-class team of people, and I am excited at the prospects for the service over the coming years.”