Richard Scott has been appointed Virgin Trains new Director of Corporate Affairs. Richard will be responsible for the company’s media relations, public affairs, consumer pr, and internal communications and will take up his post at the end of March.
Richard is currently the Head of Media for Heathrow, and was previously the BBC’s Transport Correspondent. He brings with him extensive experience of major news stories and public policy issues and will lead the Virgin Trains communications strategy as it continues to build the business in readiness for the next West Coast franchise competition.
The vacancy had arisen as a result of the previous post holder, Arthur Leathley, being appointed Director of Communications at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
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Virgin Trains has
revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service
that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has
operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK
cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and was initially due to run for up to 23 months. The Transport Secretary announced on 26 March 2013 that it will be extended until April 2017, when a new long-term West Coast franchise is expected to start.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In October 2013 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the seventh year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.
Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Autumn 2013) overall satisfaction was 91%, meaning the company has remained unbeaten over nine successive surveys in the long-distance franchise category.
Virgin Trains was awarded certification to the internationally recognised ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard in January 2014.
Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011 and again in October 2013. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed its accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model, which it originally achieved in May 2011. The company’s Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.