The announcement coincides with the planned completion of Elaine Holt’s contract.
DOR is the Company established by the Secretary of State for Transport in July 2009. It fulfils the Secretary of State’s requirements to secure the continued provision of passenger railway services should an existing franchise not be able to complete its full term. This was the case with National Express East Coast which had operated the East Coast franchise since December 2007. Its contract was subsequently terminated by the Secretary of State on 13 November 2009.
Elaine Holt was appointed Chairman of DOR by the Secretary of State in July 2009 and has held the position since that time. Coincident with the creation of a new operator on the line, which took over the rail franchise on 13 November 2009, Elaine Holt was also appointed Chairman of East Coast Main Line Company Limited.
The DfT has sought to extend Elaine Holt’s contract, although the two parties were unable to agree terms.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Elaine Holt said:
“I shall be sorry to leave both DOR and East Coast. We’ve achieved a huge amount in the last two years and we’re just starting to see the benefits of the Company turnaround. The Company still has a number of challenges to overcome – but I’m absolutely convinced we made the right choices and have established a strong new foundation for our successes to be sustainable. The franchise extension until the end of 2013 will see this task largely completed – with a business in much better shape than when we started.
“I couldn’t have achieved this level of progress without the very strong support from the DOR Board, Karen Boswell (East Coast’s Managing Director) and the rest of the team at East Coast.
“I’m genuinely regretful of the fact that I won’t now be around to ‘finish the job’.”
Elaine Holt is credited with driving and shaping the turnaround at East Coast. The introduction of a major new timetable and the launch of a new complimentary catering offer in First Class in May 2011, have both been strategically significant and delivered positive results.
Passenger numbers have increased by 3 per cent in the last year (2010/11), and last month DOR posted an operating profit of £183 million on turnover of more than £645 million for the year ending 31 March 2011.
It has subsequently returned £177 million this year in service payments to the public purse – and East Coast is now one of the best financial performers in the rail industry.
Following Elaine’s departure, Michael Holden will become Chairman of East Coast, and Doug Sutherland will become Non-Executive Chairman of Directly Operated Railways. Michael and Doug will undertake these roles on an interim basis until discussions with the Department for Transport on filling the positions permanently are concluded.
Also in Europe today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to London.
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