Hitachi Rail Europe has appointed a new managing director to drive the firm’s rapid expansion, including its multi-million pound North East train manufacturing facility.
Karen Boswell joins the firm on June 1 from East Coast Trains, where she spent five years as managing director until the Government-backed operation was replaced by the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise in March.
The firm is currently fitting out its £82m factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which is due to start making trains for the Great Western and East Coast lines from spring 2016, employing at least 730 workers.
As its operation date draws near, the firm said its focus is shifting towards delivering trains to existing UK customers and driving new European sales.
Ms Boswell will be responsible for delivering and maintaining existing orders for Class 800/801 Trains and AT200 Trains to be built at the site, as well as continuing to expand the business to attract new orders for rolling stock, European Train Control System (ETCS) and traffic management systems.
She takes over the role from Keith Jordan, who will be taking up a new senior international role where he will play a key part in the integration of Hitachi’s Rail businesses, Ansaldo STS and AnsaldoBreda.
Ms Boswell said: “It is an exciting time to be joining such an innovative organization like Hitachi Rail Europe.
“I was attracted to Hitachi by its excellent record of customer delivery as exemplified by the 395 Javelin fleet.
“I look forward to bringing into service a new generation of trains, which will deliver a step change in the experience for passengers and greater reliability for operators.
“I believe people are the key ingredient and I am looking forward to working with the wider Hitachi Rail Europe team, developing our people, creating new and exciting opportunities for all whilst at the same time raising the bar in the customer experience.”
Nick Hughes, meanwhile, joins the company as sales director on June 1, replacing Andy Barr, who now becomes chief operating officer.
Alistair Dormer, global chief executive officer of Hitachi – Rail and chairman of Hitachi Rail Europe, added: “Hitachi Rail Europe is now established as a strong player in the UK rail market and is well set for the next phase of expansion with the opening of the Newton Aycliffe Manufacturing Facility later in the year.
“I am delighted to welcome Karen and Nick to join our strong senior team to lead the company into the next phase of growth.”