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Introducing our Independent Advisory Board

Our Independent Advisory Board is a panel of industry experts who specialise in different fields. Their role is to provide unbiased advice and constructive feedback to the West Coast Partnership leadership team across both West Coast Partnership Development (WCPD) and Avanti West Coast.

For WCPD, the panel is involved at an early stage of our work to review our proposed strategies, assess the delivery of benefits, and input innovation into the process.


Nicolas Petrovic – Chair

Nicolas Petrovic is currently working as Board Member, Investor and CEO of Claret Associates – a new mobility business.

Nicolas was previously at Eurostar Ltd, where he held the CEO role from 2010 to 2018 after being the COO of the company for several years. During this period Eurostar started operating on HS1, the first high-speed line in the UK.

Before his time at Eurostar, Nicolas spent nine years in the High-Speed Train division of SNCF (French Railways) participating to the deployment of their high-speed network.



Arslan Sharif Independent member (providing customer and digital transformation perspective)

Arslan Sharif is a UK and international Executive leader with a strong track record of delivering worldwide customer-centric transformation in Digital, Marketing, and Commercial roles. Arslan is the Group Digital and Loyalty Director at PizzaExpress, leading their global digital transformation across the UK and international markets including Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East. Prior to this, he led a similar global transformation for Costa Coffee.

For 3 consecutive years (2018-20), Arslan was recognised in UK Campaign magazine’s annual Power 100 list of Top marketers and in 2020, was listed in the Top 50 Customer Experience Professionals by Marketing Week



Colin Foxall Independent member (providing customer experience perspective)

Colin Foxall was the first Chairman of Passenger Focus (2006 -2015), introducing a consumer-based approach. He oversaw the watchdog’s role expansion to include buses and road users – thus becoming Transport Focus. At the same time, he was also a member of the British Transport Police Authority. Currently he acts as an independent adviser to FirstGroup on a range of issues.

In addition, he boasts extensive experience in trade, finance and international relations – leading projects in the UK and all over the world.


Lucy Adams

Lucy Adams Independent member (providing HR and organisation perspective)

Lucy Adams has held Board level HR roles in a variety of sectors. She was the People Director at the BBC where she oversaw the people move to the Salford site and was responsible for all aspects of employee relations, reward, training and development.

Lucy Adams is now CEO at Disruptive HR – helping organisations and business leaders bring their approaches to people leadership into the 21st century by offering new ideas and practical innovative methods that the more progressive companies are already adopting.


Tom (3)

Tom Harris Independent member (providing political perspective)

Tom Harris was a journalist and public relations professional who worked for Strathclyde Passenger Transport Authority before becoming an MP in 2001. He served as railways minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and was a member of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee. Since leaving the Commons in 2015 he has established his own public affairs company. He is also a member of the Expert Challenge Panel supporting Keith Williams’ independent review of the British railway system.


Dave (2)

Dave Penney Independent member (providing Network Rail perspective)

Dave Penney is North West & Central Region Passenger Director for Network Rail. He oversees the timetable, investment and long-term operating strategy across all three of the region’s routes, stretching from London through to Carlisle via Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire and Cumbria. In his portfolio is HS2, East West Rail, Midlands Rail Hub, Crewe Hub and Northern upgrades.

Dave has previously worked for Midland Mainline, East Midlands Trains, Arriva Trains UK and latterly with Chiltern Railways as managing director between 2016 and 2019.



Hugh Clancy FirstGroup member

Hugh Clancy is the Rail Division Commercial Director for FirstGroup, responsible for franchise bidding and providing support to the Group’s train operating companies with major contract negotiations and commercial strategy for the past 13 years. His prior roles include Commercial Director for First Capital Connect, TransPennine Express and First Great Western. Whilst at First Capital Connect, Hugh led much of First's involvement, as a Shadow Operator, in the development and implementation of the Thameslink Programme, with input into new trains and timetabling.


Marco (2)

Marco CaposciuttiTrenitalia member

Marco Caposciutti is the Technical Director of Trenitalia, overseeing engineering, safety and project management for purchasing new rolling stock.

Prior to this position, he has held other executive roles in Trenitalia, including being responsible for the Frecciarossa high-speed train service, and leading the Freight Maintenance Division.

In addition, Marco has been involved in the International Union of Railways since 2015 as the chairman of the Rolling Stock Sector.



Steve MontgomeryMD, First Rail

Steve Montgomery's career in the railway industry spans almost 30 years, gaining significant experience in all aspects of management.

He started with British Rail before becoming Operations and Safety Director at ScotRail when FirstGroup took over the franchise in 2004.  Steve became their Managing Director in 2009.

Steve was appointed Managing Director of First Rail in September 2015, where he has overseen successful bids to operate the South Western and West Coast Partnership rail franchises; as well as secured rights for new Lumo services between London and Edinburgh.


Shamit 2

Shamit Gaiger Managing Director, West Coast Partnership Development

Shamit Gaiger boasts an extensive career in the rail sector; with previous roles at the Rail Safety and Standards Board; Director of Strategy at National Skills Academy for Rail; and at the Department for Transport where she led the Rail Sector Deal negotiations on behalf of the UK Government and was a Non-Executive Director for Passenger Services.

She proudly sits as a non-executive director of both Women in Rail and the Campaign for Better Transport. Before joining WCPD, Shamit most recently managed the Advisory Europe team at AECOM - an international infrastructure consulting company.