Thursday 11 Aug 2016
Network Rail appoints non-executive directors to new Property Board
Network Rail has announced the appointment of two vastly experienced non-executive directors to its new Property Board as the company continues to ramp up its property activities.
Neil Sachdev and Steve Smith have a combined 73 years’ experience working in the UK’s property and regeneration sector and have between them managed large-scale retail, mixed-use and housing developments, significant programmes of investment and divestment and regeneration projects.
The appointments follow the announcement in April 2016 that Network Rail had given its specialist transport property business, Network Rail Property, greater independence by establishing a Property Board which will approve and make recommendations about investments in and disposals of Network Rail’s estate and property assets.
The new structure and governance arrangement will enable Network Rail to increase its property activities to help generate £1.8bn to fund the Railway Upgrade Plan by disposing of various assets. The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience.
The new Property Board will also provide greater focus on plans to deliver land for housing, while continuing to generate income from Network Rail’s other property assets to reinvest into the railway.
Chris Gibb, chair of Network Rail’s Property Board, said: “The new Property Board will allow the wider company to focus on improved services for passengers and protect the efficient operation of a safe, reliable and growing railway. It will also enable the property business to continue to create extraordinary places from our unique asset portfolio and make stations destinations in their own right.”
David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property, said: “Our new non-executive directors are both leading UK property experts who will bring hugely valuable commercial experience to our business. I look forward to working with them to continue to unlock land for homes, drive economic growth in towns and cities and reinvest money into the rail network to help fund the Railway Upgrade Plan.”
Notes to editors
About the newly appointed non-executive directors
- Neil Sachdev has an unrivalled understanding of large-scale complex retail and mixed use property developments. As a former Board Property Director at Sainsbury’s (2007–2014), Neil was directly responsible for a step change in strategy to deliver over 5 million square feet of new retail space, creating over £2 billion of value. Neil is currently a Non-Executive at NHS Property Services Limited, Visiting Professor in the Built Environment at the University of Salford and Chairman of Market Tech Limited and Martins Properties Group. Neil was appointed an MBE in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours.
- Steve Smith during his time as Chief Investment Officer at British Land was directly responsible for group strategy and investment, including a £1.4 billion development programme and £600 million of property disposals, which largely consisted of non-core assets. Prior to this Steve was the Chief Executive of AXA REIM (Real Estate Investment Management) UK, AXA’s property investment subsidiary, where he was responsible for all asset management and transactions across the UK and Europe, with £40 billion of funds under management.
About the new board
This new and significantly enhanced organisation went live on 1 April 2016 and is led by David Biggs in his role as managing director of Network Rail Property. The new board will be chaired by Chris Gibb, a non-executive director of Network Rail since 2013, who has worked in the rail industry for more than 35 years.
About Network Rail Property
Network Rail Property is the commercial division of Network Rail and is a leading specialist transport property organisation. It is a real estate landowner with responsibility for managing over 16m square feet of commercial space. It is the largest landlord of SME premises in the UK and a major developer overseeing billions of pounds worth of investment helping to create jobs and support growth in local communities. Over 850m people pass through one of Network Rail's 18 managed stations annually and around 300m people each year shop in one of over 500 different station retail units.
All profits from Network Rail Property commercial activities are reinvested back into the railway.
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About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.