Dr Francis Paonessa will join the company as managing director, infrastructure projects this summer. He is currently managing director UK at Bombardier Transportation and will replace Simon Kirby, who leaves Network Rail in June to take up the role of chief executive at HS2 Ltd.
Paonessa will lead Network Rail’s infrastructure projects division in its delivery of £25bn of infrastructure renewals and enhancements. The five-year investment plan involves thousands of projects around the country aimed at delivering a bigger, better railway.
Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said: “The scale and complexity of Network Rail’s investment programme makes this one of the most challenging and exciting roles in Britain today. Francis brings with him significant leadership experience from the rail industry, including a strong focus on both workforce and passenger safety. I would like to welcome him to Network Rail and know that he will continue Simon’s excellent work as we build a bigger, better railway for Britain.”
At Bombardier Transportation, Paonessa currently leads the combined new build and services business in the UK, employing around 3,700 staff at eight Bombardier sites and 23 customer locations. He initially joined Bombardier in 2010 as president of UK rolling stock, where he managed the new-build facility in Derby, manufacturing mainline and underground trains for the UK and for export.
Whilst at Bombardier, he has led the teams to win orders with Southern Railways and TfL as well as a £1.3bn Crossrail deal.