GB Railfreight's managing director, John Smith

GB Railfreight (GBRf) managing director John Smith has been appointed as the new chief executive of parent company Hector Rail Group.

GBRf was acquired by Hector Rail-owner EQT Infrastructure in October 2016 as part of its plans to develop a pan-European rail freight network.

Hector Rail produces around 7.2m train km/year in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany, and clients include industrial shippers, forwarders, intermodal operators and traditional railway companies.

Mr Smith said today: “This is a fantastic opportunity to build on what we started with GBRf, and to bring the knowledge that I have gained to our parent company. I plan to take that knowledge to Hector Rail, to continue to demonstrate the importance of rail freight in sustainable economic growth.

“I feel there are significant opportunities at closer co-operation between the operators across Europe, and I hope to be the voice for that effort.”

Hector Rail chairman Bo Lerenius said: “With a solid background of developing and growing companies, John Smith has full insight of the challenges and opportunities that Hector Rail Group currently faces.

“The board is confident that John’s clear customer perspective and strong leadership will drive Hector Rail Group to become the leading independent pan-European rail freight operator.”


A 40-year veteran of the rail industry, Mr Smith founded GB Railfreight in 1999 and remains MD. A company spokesman said: “GBRf will not be embarking on the recruitment of a new managing director straightaway. The strong executive team, Duncan Clark, Lee Armstrong, Ian Langton, Karl Goulding-Davis and Bob Tiller, will manage things and report directly to John in his new role.”

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