Chris Gibb NR

UK: Transport Scotland has confirmed that the current CEO of Scottish Rail Holdings, Chris Gibb, will leave his post when his fixed term contract comes to an end on March 31 2023.

Gibb was appointed to the role on a fixed-term basis in December 2021 as part of the process to move ScotRail into the public sector under Scottish government control. Gibb remains a Non-Executive Director of the UK government’s in-house operator DfT OLR Holdings Limited.

Responding to the decision, Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said ‘Chris Gibb has brought a wealth of experience from previous senior positions, and a lifelong rail industry career. I am thankful for the fundamental role that he has played in the delivery of ScotRail into public sector ownership. I wish Chris well for the future.’

It is understood that Gibb’s decision to leave his post rather than extend his contract has been heavily influenced by the level of political interference in the running of ScotRail. Rail Business UK understands that he was increasingly frustrated with decisions about ScotRail being taken by ministers and Transport Scotland officials without any engagement with frontline managers and staff.

Gibb had considered resigning in May 2022, with one insider telling Rail Business UK that ‘it had become obvious that ministers and officials had no intention of adhering to the Framework Agreement which sets out who does what. Transport Scotland has not moved on from running [the ScotRail contract with Abellio] to sponsoring an arm’s length body, and political pressure accentuated this.’

Gilruth has announced that current SRH Chief Financial Officer David Lowrie will act as interim Chief Executive pending a permanent appointment. Further details of the recruitment would be issued in due course, she added.