Head of Rail Operations (Civils & Infrastructure)

  • Job Reference: JOB-8210
  • Date Posted: 22 June 2022
  • Recruiter: Ford & Stanley
  • Location: West Midlands, England
  • Salary: £85,000 to £95,000
  • Bonus/Benefits: Car Allowance + Bonus
  • Sector: Construction
  • Job Type: Permanent

Job Description

Ford & Stanley Executive Search – Specialists in Executive Interim and Permanent appointments to the UK Rail Industry have been retained to work in partnership on the search for a Head of Rail Operations for a Railway Infrastructure Client based in the midlands.

As head of rail is a rather broad title – as a steer we are looking for candidates with experience of leadership roles such as Project, Engineering or Operations Director / Head of within the Railway Civils & Infrastructure space, ideally structures or construction. (Bridges, Piling, Geotech etc) and must be chartered. 

Client Opportunity Statement:

“We are a successful business with over a decade of future order book/pipeline of attractive and challenging projects – we could do very well by simply maintaining the statuesque - however – we view this as an opportunity to invest further, explore new service offerings, products and revenue streams - an opportunity to capitalise on the demand for our services as opposed to riding the market. Our new Head of Rail will play an instrumental role in us doing so”

“Role would suit an operational leader, chartered in civil engineering with a diverse background (and passion) across technical, commercial, projects and strategy – track record of growing and developing a business is a must”

Candidate Essentials:

  1. Extensive experience operating within a rail civils and infrastructure environment. Potential job titles could include, Head of / Director of Operations OR Projects OR Engineering or similar
  2. The candidates must have some form of asset management contracts experience (Structural, track-based, S&T etc).
  3. Min of 10 years’ experience within Civils / Construction or Structures either technical, operational, projects or commercial but ideally a blend
  4. The candidate must be chartered
  5. Track record of managing teams with examples of developing, recruiting, growing, investing in people
  6. The candidate must have demonstrable experience in building and developing relationships and contracts within the rail sector, as this role will be focused around expanding products, clients and services, and general operational growth. With that in mind someone with Sales, Commercial, Projects, Client Relationship Management and Operations would be best suited as opposed to a Engineer or Technical expert.
  7. Ability to work to a high degree of autonomy with a thirst to learn, push the boundaries and grab the opportunity with both hands.

Good to know…

  • 200 employees (120 of which Rail) business is a £27m turnover with a very positive financial performance current and forecast.
  • Very strong pipeline of exciting, challenging and interesting projects covering at least the next decade
  • Objective is to grow business to £40-£50m business over next 3-5 years
  • Role has 4 direct reports – Projects, Planning, Engineering and Admin.
  • Role reports into the MD with a dotted line into FD
  • The opportunity is to take an engaged, good performing team with processes, systems, infrastructure in place and develop/build upon it
  • The client could do extremely well simply maintaining their current business activities however, they wish to capitalise on market demand and opportunity by investing in and building a second tier leadership team with entrepreneurial spirit, ideas and hunger to drive growth and excellence
  • There are several heads of roles being recruited as a result of ambition and growth in addition to new roles being created.
  • 2 stage interview process. First stage will be more informal/relaxed face to face with the MD, discussing relevant experience and finding out whether they will be a good cultural fit. The 2nd/final stage will be with the MD and the FD - more structured and formal to include a presentation, the criteria of which are TBC.
  • Job specification available upon request 


  • Low £85k, Mid £90k, High £95k (Dependent on experience)
  • Flexible arrangements for home and office working. (Min of 3 days working in office to lead from the front and not from behind a screen)
  • Employee assistance programme.
  • Employee recognition scheme.
  • Auto-enrolment pension scheme (2% employee 6% employer)
  • 27 days holiday + 8 bank holidays per annum.
  • Life assurance.
  • Private medical insurance.
  • Bonus Scheme – up to 20%.
  • Company sick pay.
  • Car allowance of £6000 per annum.

Search Director Summary Statement

Evidently a successful organisation who are choosing not to rest on their laurels or ‘ride a market’ – determined to capitalise on market opportunity and momentum.

The position has become vacant due to a retirement within the organisation and the MD sees this as an opportunity to reshape the role into part operational delivery and part growth, forward thinking and strategic.

The budget will enable our client to secure an experienced and chartered head of / director of from within the Civils and Infrastructure space. Noting also that they are unwavering in the candidate needing to be from within the Rail industry with sound experience and understanding within most areas of their products and services. 

Culturally the business is in great shape, what is evident is that the leadership team are hands on, ambitious and engaging – This is our first opportunity at working with the business and have so far been very impressed with their engagement, openness and access to the organisation.

I would highly recommend any Chartered operational, projects, commercial or engineering leader within the Railway Civils & Infrastructure space enquire.

About Ford & Stanley Executive Search – Specialist Head-hunters to the UK & European Rail Industries.

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusivity or retained agreements with forward thinking and proactive Rail companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search.

All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy UK Rail candidate market.

Ford & Stanley Group Ltd is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for all opportunity seekers and approach all opportunity with a mindset of who is right for the job irrespective sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, age, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or political beliefs and we place an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. We shall adhere to such a policy at all times and will review on an on-going basis all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful or undesirable discrimination.