The managing director of Avanti West Coast, Phil Whittingham, has announced that he will step down from his position effective September 15 in order to "pursue other senior leadership possibilities."
After spending the previous 23 years in a variety of positions on the railway, he made the transition from Virgin West Coast Trains Limited to Avanti West Coast in the capacity of managing director as part of the process of changing the rail franchise.
Phil is leaving, and with him goes a team that is prepared to face the challenges of meeting the future service standards.
"Having led the team through the challenges presented by the pandemic over the last two years and into the recovery period, Phil leaves with the team ready for the challenges in delivering the future customer needs," said Steve Montgomery, the managing director of First Rail. "Having led the team through the problems presented by the global epidemic over the last two years,"
“I would want to congratulate Phil and wish him luck in the future.”
One of the train companies that will be affected by additional strikes in the upcoming weeks is Avanti, which has also been embroiled in a dispute on the Sunday work schedules of its drivers.
"The MD of Avanti West Coast has gone because he lied about unofficial action at the company," claimed a spokesman for the drivers union Aslef. "The company has fired him," the spokesman said.
"We look forward to working with a new MD who can, and will, deliver for passengers and workers," the company said in a statement.
Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, made the following statement: "This failing operator has caused travel misery for millions."
"And rather than lifting a finger to hold them accountable for this catastrophic failure, the transport secretary defended it, gave over taxpayers' money, and decided to blame workers instead. "
"If the government had any interest in doing their job, they would finally stand up for passengers, claw back the money that taxpayers have paid for services that haven't operated, strip the operator of the contract, and put in place an immediate plan to restore the timetable,"