Phil Whittingham has stepped down as managing director of Avanti West Coast “to pursue other executive leadership opportunities”, the train operator said.
He moved to his current role from Virgin West Coast Trains Limited after the rail franchise change process after 23 years in various roles on the railway. Whittingham will stand down on 15 September and First Rail managing director Steve Montgomery will “provide executive leadership support” to the Avanti West Coast team for “the immediate future”.
Steve Montgomery, First Rail managing director, said: “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 service requirements.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham criticised Avanti West Coast for cutting services between London and Manchester from three to one train an hour.
The firm has blamed the drop in service frequency on “the current industrial relations climate, which has resulted in severe staff shortages in some grades through increased sickness levels”.
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