ORR chief executive John Larkinson

It was nearly two and a half years ago that John Larkinson was given the job on an interim basis. Only now has his position been made permanent.

His interim tenure was even longer than that of his predecessor, who served 13 months on an interim basis before finally getting the job properly.

The Office of Rail & Road (ORR) is the government’s watchdog for railways and some of the road network, holding Network Rail and Highways England to account. For the railways it also has a safety remit.

John Larkinson was appointed interim chief executive way back on 2nd October 2018. He finally became permanent chief executive on 23rd February 2021 after a lengthy recruitment process.

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He is an economist by background, spending most of his career across a range of transport-related posts in consultancy and in central government, including as director of network regulation & affordability at the Strategic Rail Authority. He joined ORR in 2005 and has been a member of the ORR board since March 2017.

ORR chair Declan Collier said: “The board is very pleased to have been able to appoint John following a well-contested competition. I also want to thank John for the excellent work he has done as interim CEO through an extended and really challenging period.  We welcome the opportunity to now continue to draw on his experience and expertise as he takes on the permanent role.”

John Larkinson said:  “I thank the board for its continued confidence in me and am delighted to be taking up the permanent role. I look forward to continuing to work with the rail and road industries, ensuring that the ORR delivers its role to protect the public interest.”

His predecessor, Joanna Whittington was appointed interim chief executive in January 2016 and had to wait until February 2017 to get the job on a permanent basis. She moved on in October 2018 to become director general, energy and security at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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