Richard Parry is to swap trains for boats as he takes up the role of chief executive of the Canal & River Trust starting this summer.
Joining the Trust after more than a decade in senior roles managing large complex transport and infrastructure organisations, Richard comments: “I am really excited to be joining the Canal & River Trust at such an important phase in the future of the nation’s magnificent waterways. The scale of the opportunity is huge as what we and our supporters do in the next five years will help shape the waterways for the next century.
“I bring a track-record of managing similarly complex and challenging networks, together with experience of working closely with a wide range of interested and passionate people. I’ve got bags of enthusiasm for the waterways and have seen first-hand the shot in the arm that canals provide to the communities they flow through. Out on the towpath I have witnessed the hugely committed staff, volunteers, boaters and other supporters, and I look forward to the challenge ahead.”
Currently at FirstGroup, Richard headed up First’s bid in 2012 for the InterCity West Coast line and more recently has been leading First’s highly-regarded Hull Trains company as well as other wider development programmes across First’s rail businesses. Before that he spent 19 years at London Underground (LU) and Transport for London (TfL) where he had a range of senior roles, spending eight years as a director of LU, including a year as interim LU managing director (2009-10), and then a further 18 months as deputy managing director, TfL Rail and Underground (2010-11).
Richard is also a trustee of People 1st – the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism – which works to transform skills in the sector, particularly in the areas of management and leadership, customer service and craft/technical skills.
Tony Hales, chairman of the Canal & River Trust, said: “I am delighted to welcome Richard to the Canal & River Trust. He joins one of the newest, biggest and brightest entrants in the charity sector – an organisation that shares his passion for the waterways.
“He has fantastic experience of managing complex infrastructure – something which is crucial for our network of lock flights, embankments, soaring aqueducts and other engineering feats of the industrial age. He has a strong record of leading organisations through change and recognises the importance of growing the engagement with the boaters, anglers and millions of others in the community who use and enjoy our wonderful waterways.
“I’m very pleased that Richard is moving from rail to water recognising the renaissance that has seen our canals and rivers come to life and the opportunity we have to give them a bright future.”
Richard, 46, married with two teenage daughters, lives in the West Midlands.