State-run railway firm boss to quit less than a year into job

Scottish Rail Holdings was established as ScotRail was brought into public ownership.

Scottish Rail Holdings chief executive Chris Gibb to quit role less than a year into job Website

The head of Scotland’s state-run railway firm who was accused of threatening staff with compulsory redundancies is leaving his role less than a year into the job.

Chris Gibb was appointed as chief executive of Scottish Rail Holdings by Transport Scotland in December, 2021.

Gibb, who previously worked as chief operating officer of Virgin Trains, was tasked with heading up the newly-created body following the nationalisation of ScotRail.

Scottish Rail Holdings was established as an arms-length company controlled by the Scottish Government after ScotRail was taken into public ownership on April 1 this year.

Rail unions – Aslef, RMT, TSSA and Unite – made accusations against Gibb of having acted in a more “controversial and provocative way” than any of ScotRail’s previous private sector operators.

They also claimed that he had planned to “downgrade” terms and conditions for workers.

It has now been confirmed that Gibb will leave the role on March 31, 2023, at the end of a fixed-term contract.

However, his final working day will be on December 29 due to “outstanding annual leave”.

It is not clear why Gibb is standing down from the role.

David Lowrie, who served as finance director for Scottish Rail Holdings, is to take on the role as chief executive while Gibb’s successor is sought.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said Gibb had played a “fundamental role” in the delivery of ScotRail into public sector ownership.

“Chris Gibb has brought a wealth of rail experience from previous senior positions and a lifelong rail industry career,” said Gilruth.

“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.

“I would like to thank David Lowrie for stepping into the role of chief executive while the recruitment for a permanent chief executive takes place.”