East West Railway Company, Chair

Body: East West Railway Company
Appointing Department: Department for Transport
Sector: Transport
Location: Milton Keynes
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Major Projects
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £75,000 per annum
Time Requirements: 2 days per week


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has appointed Nilesh (Neil) Sachdev as Chair of the East West Railway Company (EWR Co).

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Looking for a new and exhilarating challenge leading a visionary UK based infrastructure delivery organisation? Excited by the thought of positively challenging industry norms and inspiring a team to surpass customer expectations? Then look no further than the opportunity to chair the Board of the East West Railway Company – a company at the forefront of the changing landscape of the rail industry, delivering a multi-billion pound rail link with services connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge and places in between.

The East West Railway Company (EWR Co) was set up as a company in 2017, and constituted as an arms-length body of the Department for Transport in September 2018. It was created to drive forward the delivery of the East West Rail project – a new direct line, providing much-needed East West connectivity to unlock the economic potential of the Oxford Cambridge Arc – supporting new jobs and communities, as well as reducing journey times, congestion and travel costs for residents and commuters.

More than that, EWR Co has a vision to be a force for positive change – both for the industry in which it operates and the communities it serves.

East West Rail is a complex project, with multiple phases, sections and delivery partners, and complex interfaces with the existing transport network. The Secretary of State for Transport is EWR Co’s only shareholder. Importantly, the company also benefits greatly from the input and insights of the East West Rail Consortium – a longstanding group of local authorities and businesses with an interest in improving access to and from East Anglia and the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area.

Person Specification

The Secretary of State is now recruiting a permanent Chair. It is critical that candidates share the company’s high-level strategic commitments not only to the vision of the organisation, but to ensuring that the long-term economic benefits for the region are maximised.

Candidates will have extensive senior and board experience, as well as a record of exceptional achievement in their field. This must include experience of major infrastructure projects (though not necessarily transport related) and a good understanding of complex programme management.

Strong candidates will understand how to operate effectively in organisations which are highly scrutinised or regulated, and where transparent accountability for the expenditure of public monies is non-negotiable. You will also be adept at managing the interface between a highly experienced executive team and an expert board, in a way which optimises the contributions of each.

How to Apply

This appointment is being made in accordance with the Government’s Principles of Public Appointments and Governance Code, and the Department for Transport is being supported throughout the process by Cadence Partners. To request the candidate briefing (PDF document) or for an informal discussion, please contact their principal consultant, Shani Newbold at Cadence Partners on +44 20 7947 4960 or email ewrco@cadencepartners.co.uk

If you require the candidate materials in an alternative format, please request it in your initial contact.

If you wish to apply, you will be required to submit the following:

  • A comprehensive CV setting out your career history and including relevant details of any professional qualifications.
  • A short supporting statement (maximum two sides A4, minimum size 11 font) giving evidence of your ability to meet the essential criteria for the role. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the areas identified in the person specification.
  • In addition, please also complete and return via email the Supporting Documentation form relating to referees, diversity, nationality, political activity and conflicts of interest.

These documents must be emailed to ewrco@cadencepartners.co.uk (subject line: Application for Chair of EWRCo) by no later than the closing date of 19 October 2020.

EWRCo Chair Candidate Brief
Supporting Documentation form
Disability Confident form
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