Connex sets up new PR position

Connex Rail, one of Britain’s largest train operating companies, is looking for a communications director.

Connex Rail, one of Britain’s largest train operating companies, is

looking for a communications director.



Communications are currently overseen by Michel Quidort, director of

corporate communications at CGEA, the transport and waste management arm

of French conglomerate Compagnie Generale des Eaux, which owns

Connex.



But as communications head for all of CGEA’s European transport

interests, Quidort can only spend part of the week in London. He has

hired headhunting firm MacNeil to find an executive to take on his

responsibilities at Connex.



The post holder will oversee a team of five, including Tracy Dryden and

Dave Ewert, respectively corporate relations manager and media relations

manager at Connex South Eastern, and Connex South Central media

relations manager Simon Eden, PR manager Rachel Woods and PR executive

James Shelley.



The new director will be responsible for communicating with a staff of

more than 5,000.



The appointment of a communications director would mark Connex’s first

attempt to unite the separate communications structures which were in

place when it took over what were effectively two train companies in

1996.



Connex retains two agencies, Citigate Westminster for public affairs

work and Biss Lancaster for PR.



It is unclear who the new director will report to. The company’s

vice-chairman and chief executive is Antoine Hurel.



Connex, which provides 17 per cent of passenger train journeys in

Britain, and runs lucrative routes connecting London with Kent and

Sussex, has attracted negative publicity for widespread train

cancellations.



The company, which carries more than 200 million passengers a year, was

forced to cancel trains last summer when drivers took industrial action

and refused to work overtime. It withdrew hundreds of trains from the

winter time table, which will be reinstated this summer.



Connex was lambasted by unions and the tabloids for various clothing

directives including ordering female staff not to wear black bras under

the white shirts of their uniform.



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