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
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
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
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
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.