Griffins reports to chief executive Richard Shirrefs and replaces John Noulton, who has retired after holding the position since Eurotunnel was set up more than ten years ago. Griffins has spent 25 years in the Civil Service and joins from the Department of Transport, where he was director of the aviation directorate.
Eurotunnel is currently calling on the British and French governments, and industry partners, to restructure its debt, which is about £6bn. The operator has been hit by the success of low-cost airlines. This week it reported a five per cent fall in revenues and a 40 per cent rise in losses for 2003, to £148m.
Eurotunnel retains The Waterfront Partnership for monitoring work in the UK and Brussels. Last year, it hired Brunswick to audit the firm’s perceptions and boost its image among government officials and opinion formers (PRWeek, 14 March 2003).
Griffins is a former director of railways at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and has served as principal private secretary to three transport secretaries.
Eurotunnel manages the tunnel’s infrastructure and earns toll revenue from other train operators: Eurostar for rail passengers, and EWS and SNCF for rail freight.