New Chief Operating Officer to lead Rock Rail’s expanding asset management business

Rock Rail

Rock Rail announces that Mike Kean will join the business on the 3rd December 2018 in the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer heading up its asset management business

Mike’s appointment comes after two highly successful years which have seen Rock Rail shake up the UK rolling stock market. Rock’s pioneering approach to rolling stock funding has generated a new source of funds, enabling direct investment by leading UK and overseas pension and insurance institutions for the first time. As well as driving increased competition into the sector and delivering better value to government, train operators and rail passengers, the approach has seen Rock secure three new rolling stock contracts to date worth £2 billion.

Mike brings a wealth of rail industry experience and commercial, franchise bidding and asset delivery expertise. In his previous role as Franchise and Programmes Director and Deputy Managing Director for Abellio Greater Anglia, Mike led the procurement and delivery of over 1000 new state of the art rolling stock vehicles for the passengers of Greater Anglia. Prior to this Mike was Abellio’s UK rail business development director and oversaw the successful expansion of Abellio, winning the ScotRail and Greater Anglia Franchises.

Rock Rail has been providing specialist rolling stock asset management services, alongside its funding, procurement and leasing activities, since it secured its first contract in February 2016. This was for the financing of the Siemens-built Desiro City Class 717s which are due to start running later this year on Govia Thameslink Railway’s Great Northern route. The asset management  services are now provided across all three Rock Rail fleets, which are expected to represent just under 10%¹ of the UK passenger fleet market when delivered into service over the next two years.

With a focus on managing long term residual value, Rock’s asset management team covers all aspects of design, construction and fleet introduction phases plus ongoing operations. These services include programme management, operating model management and performance review, budgeting, re-leasing and risk management, maintenance and health and safety assurance.

Mike’s appointment follows other recent recruits to the team who have further deepened the technical, commercial, financial, legal, health and safety and programme management expertise already within the group.

Jo Shepherd, Finance Director Rock Rail, joined the team in April 2018 with over 20 years of experience in the leasing industry most recently focussing on the rolling stock market. Jo is responsible for all financial aspects of Rock Rail’s asset management services and capabilities for its current and future asset management portfolio. Prior to joining Rock Jo headed up the Financial Control and Risk team at ROSCO Eversholt Rail group for three years. In this position she was responsible for finance activities on its portfolio of Passenger and Freight rolling stock assets, Cross London Trains and the onboarding of new shareholders following a private equity exit.

Mark Swindell, CEO of Rock Rail said:

“Rock Rail is delighted to announce the appointment of Mike Kean to lead our asset management team. Mike has significant experience in managing the procurement, design and introduction of new trains and will play a key part in Rock Rail’s ambitions, along with our industry partners, to continue to drive better value across the rail industry and transform the rail travel experience for passengers.

“Mike’s appointment together with Jo’s and other recent appointments to Rock’s asset management business will create an even stronger, scalable platform, providing leading asset management services to our existing portfolio, to future Rock Rail procurements as well as to other third-parties”

Mike Kean, said:

“I am delighted to be joining Rock Rail at this exciting time. Rock are a key catalyst for change and improvement in the rolling stock leasing industry and I look forward to growing their asset management capability and delivering for our partners and the wider industry.”


¹Rock Rail estimates based on passenger fleet forecasts from ‘Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry’, 6th edition.

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