Meet our Executive Committee
Mark Phillips—Chief Executive Officer
Mark was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2016. He is deputy chair of the British Transport Police Authority and a member of the Transport for London Board. He is a member of the Department for Transport’s Transport Research and Innovation Board.
After graduating with a B.A. (Hons) in Economics from the University of York, Mark joined British Rail, later joining the privatisation team. He worked for Railtrack as Head of Operational Planning and Engineering, for Network Rail as Regional Director Anglia, and Deputy Managing Director for London Eastern Railway (Anglia).
Mark is a Fellow of the Institute of Railway Operators and a Fellow of the Institute of Logistics and Transport.
Paul Marchant—Chief Financial Officer
Paul joined RSSB in 2014 and was appointed Chief Financial Officer in February 2018. Paul works to ensure that RSSB remains financially sustainable and continues to provide value for money to its membership and key stakeholders. He is responsible for shaping RSSB’s long-term financial strategy to meet the changing needs of the business and the wider industry.
Paul gained a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick and qualified as a chartered accountant (ACA) with Clement Keys (now Cooper Parry) in Birmingham. He previously worked at the Conservative Party Campaigning Headquarters in Westminster, before joining RSSB.
Johnny Schute—Chief Operating Officer
Johnny joined RSSB in May 2018 as Chief Operating Officer and leads our Chief Operating Group. He was formerly the Deputy Chief Inspector of Railways and Deputy Director, Railway Safety at the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), having assumed the appointment in January 2017. He had responsibility for health and safety regulation of the mainline rail network, all operating companies (both train and freight), light rail, metros (including TfL) and heritage. Prior to this, he was Deputy Director, Policy, Strategy and Planning within the Rail Safety Directorate of ORR.
Before joining ORR in October 2015, he served for 34 years in the British Army as an infantry soldier, undertaking operational tours in Northern Ireland, Southern Arabia, the Balkans and Iraq. In his final appointment as Chief Environmental and Safety officer for the army—and responsible to the head of the army for all health and safety matters—he introduced a new safety management system derived from lessons learned from the Nimrod disaster (RSSB member report available). He was also closely involved in setting up the first defence safety regulator, the Defence Safety Authority.
Johnny has an MBA from the Open University and a MSc in Design of Information Systems from Cranfield University. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005.
Keith Hanlon-Smith—Human Resources Director
Keith joined RSSB as Head of HR in April 2017 with responsibility for the HR, Company Secretariat and Facilities teams. Keith heads up the team that is responsible for ensuring that RSSB’s people are able to provide the very best service to its members.
Keith has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resource Management gained in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. He was worked for the Carbon Trust, Norland Managed Services (now CBRE Global Workplace Solutions) and prior to that the media and retail sectors.
Keith is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a graduate of Brighton University and a business mentor for Teach a Man to Fish.
Nizar Awad—Director of Projects
Nizar joined RSSB as Director of Projects in November 2017. He is responsible for leading the Projects team to ensure RSSB members and stakeholders benefit from timely delivery of high quality, ‘fit for purpose’ outputs within the critical budgetary and time constraints.
Nizar has almost 30 years' experience of developing and delivering complex major infrastructure projects and programmes. He has held various senior roles within the rail industry, working with both contractors and consultants, in the UK and overseas. Before joining RSSB he was a member of the Executive at London Rail, accountable for all project delivery as well as transforming the constituent businesses into a coherent and high performing delivery unit. Nizar enjoys developing the capability of organisations to continuously improve their project delivery and actively encourages collaborative working across the industry.
Nizar is a Chartered Engineer with a BEng in Civil Engineering, an MSc in Construction Management, and a DIC and MBA from Imperial College. He is a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the British Tunnelling Society and the Association for Project Management.
Paul McLaughlin—Business Development & Engagement Director
Paul joined RSSB in February 2018 from BESA, a trade association within the construction industry. As its Chief Executive he led the organisation to deliver value and benefit to members. Prior to this he was Managing Director at Scotty Brand and the first Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink. At the latter, an industry membership organisation, he developed sector-wide strategies focussed on commercial results. He lobbied and influenced government and established Scotland Food & Drink as the industry’s main leadership body.
Before joining Scotland Food & Drink, Paul worked at Mars and then The Coca-Cola Company, most recently as Commercialisation Director responsible for North West Europe.
Paul gained a first-class honours degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Glasgow, and also holds a Diploma in Company Direction from Durham University Business School.
Joshua Fisher—Chief Information Officer
Joshua joined RSSB in September 2019 as the Interim Director of Information Management & Technology (IM&T) and was appointed as Chief Information Officer in September 2020.
Joshua has over 10 years’ experience delivering technology enabled transformation across both the private and public sector, including transport, regulation, and logistics.
Joshua works closely with the Head of IM&T Project Portfolio. His principle focus is to facilitate successful delivery of RSSB’s immediate technical roadmap, and to deliver heightened performance and resilience of existing IT services.
Joshua’s speciality is helping organisations unlock the true potential of Microsoft technologies including Office 365 and Dynamics 365, taking a benefits-led approach to deliver operational efficiency, improved productivity and increased cross organisation collaboration.
Joshua has a 1st Class BSc in Information Technology.