Phil Verster to Join Metrolinx as CEO
Brings Strong Experience Running Large British Rail Services
Toronto, August 24, 2017
- Today the Board of Directors of Metrolinx appointed experienced rail operator Phil Verster as its new President and CEO.
Over the last 12 years, Mr. Verster has overseen operations and major construction of some of the most complex and customer intensive rail services in England, Scotland and Ireland. Among his most recent assignments as a Managing Director of Britain’s Network Rail have been running Scotland’s railway operations, the ScotRail Alliance, and initiating work on the East West Railway, a new rail line linking Britain’s high tech corridor between Oxford and Cambridge.
Mr. Verster was selected following an international search on behalf of Metrolinx. His start date is October 1, 2017.
Rob Prichard, Chairman of the Metrolinx Board, pointed to the unique set of criteria in Metrolinx’s search:
“We’re implementing a $34-billion transit build – the biggest transit investment in Ontario’s history and one of the largest in the world today. We’re quadrupling the number of weekly GO Train trips - from 1,500 to 6,000. We’re electrifying key GO rail lines to provide 15-minute express service all day long throughout the region, and we’re building new LRT lines to tie the region together.
“Moreover, as we execute this massive transformation, we need to continue providing the current high level of daily transit service that people throughout the region depend on. We sought as our next CEO a person with deep domain expertise and substantial executive experience operating and building railways. There are few people in the transit and rail industry with the know-how, experience and executive skills to drive transformation and maintain service at the same time. Phil Verster is one of them.
“Mr. Verster has graduate degrees in both engineering and business and a post-graduate diploma in law. He has operated, built and electrified commuter rail. He has the expertise and executive experience we need to deliver on our ambitious agenda, leading the 4,000 employees of Metrolinx and working with all of our partners. We are delighted the Mr. Verster has chosen to join Metrolinx.”
At ScotRail, Mr. Verster oversaw the delivery of $3 billion of new electrification of the Scottish railroad.
Most recently, at the East West Railway, Mr. Verster led successful efforts to re-launch the project through creative partnerships with the municipalities and local leaders it will serve while simultaneously designing and engineering the project in the most cost effective way.
Mr. Verster said: “I am very excited about joining the team of dedicated women and men at Metrolinx, and to be part of one of the most exciting transit transformations taking place anywhere in the world. I believe Ontario is the
place to be. Not just because of the very large scale of investment being made in transit, but because of the dynamism, optimism and quality of life that has made this region so envied all over the world.
“At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that all the investment, all the construction, all the new trains and services are not an end in themselves. They’re about improving the experience of passengers, contributing to communities and to the economy.”
TTC CEO Andy Byford welcomed Mr. Verster’s appointment: “I am delighted Phil Verster is coming to Toronto to lead Metrolinx. We worked together in London just over a decade ago in an executive team that turned around a poorly performing train operating company. He will be a superb leader for Metrolinx. He is smart, driven, good at delivery and gets things done. He will deliver both the projects and the change agenda for Metrolinx and GO. I very much look forward to working with him as our partner at the TTC.“
Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail in Britain said: “Phil Verster is a great leader, a loss to the UK rail industry and a gain to the Canadian railroad industry. He has made a great contribution to ScotRail and to Network Rail as a Managing Director for the last six years. He has a great customer focus and a strong track record in supporting and developing teams to improve customer service and train service performance.”
Metrolinx is planning, building and delivering hundreds of projects and services across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to move the region forward, and provide residents and businesses with a transportation system that is modern, efficient and integrated. Find out more about Metrolinx's Regional Transportation Plan for the GTHA
. Find out more about GO Transit
, and Union Pearson Express
, divisions of Metrolinx.
Phil Verster Bio
Phil Verster is one of the UK’s rail leaders, having managed train operations, infrastructure builds and infrastructure management for passenger rail systems in England, Scotland and Ireland.
An engineer by training, Phil began his career in the electricity sector in his native South Africa. He moved to the UK in 1996, joining Rolls-Royce as a Director responsible for manufacturing and control systems projects. From 2001 to 2003, he was Depot Manager and Production Director for a UK division of Bombardier Rail.
Phil moved from the supplier side to passenger rail operations in 2003, as Engineering Operations Director of Southeastern Trains. He also spent five years at Irish Rail, where he served in different roles including Deputy CEO.
In 2011, Phil joined Britain’s Network Rail. His first assignment was Managing Director London North East and East Midlands Route (which includes the East Coast Main Line between London and Scotland), the second largest route in the Network Rail system. He pioneered a new approach to structured continuous improvement that delivered improved safety and train performance as well as an enhanced passenger experience.
Phil put the same innovation and discipline to work in his subsequent assignment for Network Rail running Scotland’s ScotRail passenger rail service, from 2015 to 2017. Since early 2017, Phil has served as Managing Director of Network Rail’s East West Railway, which will link Britain’s “Silicon Valley” between Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
Phil has a Bachelors of Engineering and a Masters of Engineering, both from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He has an MBA from the University of Newcastle Business School and an LLM Post Graduate Diploma (Commercial Law) from the University of Northumbria, both in the UK.
Phil is married to Carol and they have two children, Jack and Robyn. He is an active marathoner, and an avid do-it-yourself home renovator.