Meet our Chief Operating Group
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 Her Late Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005.
Ali Chegini, Director of Systems Safety and Health
Ali joined RSSB in February 2019 as Director of Systems, Safety and Health. Ali is a Chartered Engineer, with 30 years' railway systems and engineering experience. This involved risk analysis, design, project management, safety approvals, and safety decision-making.
In his previous roles, Ali was the Systems Assurance Manager for the BACS Consortium (CWJV-Bechtel and Siemens) on Lines 1 and 2 of Riyadh Metro. Before this, he regulated railway projects in Dubai and the UAE for six light and heavy rail systems. Ali implemented effective arrangements for how duty holders (railway undertakings, infrastructure owners and managers) managed their railway system operations and maintenance risks. He worked closely with the Federal Transport Authority, supported by the UK Office of Rail and Road, and the French regulator (STRMTG). He developed, implemented and enforced regulations, safety management systems, and policy frameworks to help achieve Dubai’s 2030 transportation strategic vision and long-term railway transportation objectives.
Ali was awarded the 2003 Athlone-Vanier Fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Tom Lee, Director of Standards
Tom joined RSSB in 2002 as a signalling specialist. Since then he has headed several specialist teams within RSSB, was appointed Acting Director of Standards in 2016 and permanently in the role in 2017. He is accountable for the suite of Railway Group Standards, Rail Industry Standards, and Guidance Notes. He leads engineering, operations, and human factors specialists who provide advice, guidance and develop standards and related material to support the industry.
Originally a British Rail sponsored student, Tom gained a BEng in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the University of Birmingham. Following graduation, Tom had various roles on infrastructure maintenance projects, including leading a team maintaining signalling and communication systems on the West Coast Main Line.
Tom is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and a Fellow of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers.
Luisa Moisio, Director of Research and Development
Luisa Moisio joined RSSB in 2005 and was appointed Head of Programme Strategy and Analysis for Research & Development in 2013. She was named R&D Programme Director in 2017 and is responsible for a cross-industry programme funded by the Department for Transport. This provides answers and develops solutions for the rail industry, spanning a broad range of engineering, operations and sustainability topics.
Since 2014 Luisa has also been a member of the organising committee of the World Congress of Rail Research, and is currently its Chair in preparation for the next Congress which will be hosted in Birmingham in 2022. She is also closely involved in the UK Innovation and Research Network (UKRRIN) which fosters and brings together the Centres of Excellence in rail research with supply chain and the wider industry.
Luisa has a background in analysis and consulting. She has an MSc in Decision Science and Operation Research, and a degree in International Sciences and Economics.
Vaibhav Puri, Director of Sector Strategy and Transformation
Vaibhav joined RSSB in 2004 focussing initially on provision of analysis and optimising systems performance in Research & Development. In June 2014, Vaibhav was appointed Head of Technical and Regulatory Policy and since 2018 he was also the Deputy Director of Standards. He has been an influential voice in the evolution of the UK and EU railway legislation, including supporting the Department for Transport and the sector in transitioning seamlessly to a post-EU exit legal landscape. Vaibhav is recognised in the UK and internationally as an expert in rail regulation, governance, and standards, providing advice to senior government and industry executives, the regulator, as well as several high-profile projects and organisations.
On behalf of the UK, Vaibhav chairs the Committee of Technical Experts (CTE) for the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) which sets international law for rail transport. He has also led several European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) task forces on safety culture and use of data and systems, and he is part of ERA’s Economic Steering Group. In his current role, Vaibhav is the RSSB lead in the implementation of the Rail Reform and Great British Railway as envisioned in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.
Vaibhav is a civil engineer with an MBA in Marketing and Information Systems as well as an MSc in Operational Research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
George Davies, Director Sustainable Development
A sustainability expert, George has almost 20 years’ experience as an environmental regulator, consultant and industry leader.
He joined the rail sector in late 2020 after 11 years with Heathrow Airport in a range of roles including environmental strategy manager, capital programme sponsors agent and, most recently, head of the expansion sustainability and environment team.
In his role as Director Sustainable Development, George is working with the industry to set out a pan-industry approach to sustainability, taking advantage of RSSB’s unique cross-sector visibility, technical knowledge and independence to structure a coherent plan addressing environmental and social sustainability.
George is passionate about protecting the natural world and harnessing the power of transport infrastructure to improve quality of life.
Billy Denyer, Director of Business Management and Performance
Billy joined RSSB in April 2022 as Director of Business Management and Performance, and leads the Business Management Office (BMO). He is responsible for the delivery, governance, monitoring and reporting of all business activity, ensuring that benefits are realised by the membership and the wider industry as swiftly and efficiently as possible. He is also responsible for the production of RSSB’s annual Business Plan.
Billy was previously at Rail Delivery Group (formerly ATOC) where he had worked since 2006 in several analysis and research leadership roles. As Director of Insights at RDG he led the rail industry’s commercial reporting function, developed a new customer experience monitoring service, ran the industry’s Customer Propositions Committee, and managed the Passenger Demand Forecasting Scheme.
Prior to working at ATOC, Billy was a civil servant within the Government Statistical Service and had roles at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Defra, and the Office of Rail Regulation (now the Office of Rail and Road).
Billy has a BSc in Geography and an MBA, both from Loughborough University.