I have been watching the chaos that a few inches of snow has caused in The UK. It is interesting that we never see or hear from a CEO or manager of the private companies involved. When discussing the road we have cometary from a guy from the RAC. When discussing the railways we have a reporter quoting anonymous statements from “Network Rail”. When reporting on air travel BBC1 News had an interview with the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond.
This echoes a problem I had at London bridge last Thursday. The last train to Brighton was cancelled and the display board merely stated “ask for assistance”. From who? The girl at the ticket office suggested I go to Three Bridges but didn’t consider how I should continue to Brighton. Eventually I found three members of staff huddled together out of the way where nobody could take to them. They knew nothing.
It occurs to me that key british infrastructure has now been outsourced to the private sector but that CEOs and Managers of these companies refuse to be held accountable. They are happy to collect fat salaries but refuse to stand up and be counted when their organisations face challenges.
This has become so much an accepted part of British life that the Transport Secretary now goes to meet British Airport Authority and then, like some messenger boy, is forced to answer questions from the press. Mr. Hammond is a politician for God sake! He sets policy. He knows nothing about de-icing aircraft. He should not be held to account for the day to day operational control of infrastructure. Certainly if the infrastructure continues to perform badly he should be held to account but the guy standing in from of the camera on the day that flights are cancelled should be the manager of Heathrow Airport or the CEO of BAA.
The Chief Executive Officer of BAA is Colin Matthews.
The Chief Operating Officer of Heathrow Airport is Nick Cullen.
The acting Chief Executive of Network Rail is Peter Henderson.
The Operations & Customer Services Director of Network Rail is Robin Gisby.
It is time they spoke up.