Goodbye Robin Evans

CRT has appointed a new Chief Executive, Richard Parry, who has held senior positions in the railways including in First Group, London Underground and Transport for London. Former CEO Robin Evans disappeared from public view a few weeks ago.

“And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind”*

When Robin Evans was interviewed by Shafik Meghji for Regeneration and Renewal in August 2008, to mark British Waterways’ 60th year in public ownership, he said:

“The really good reason for nationalisation is that we’re so adaptable. The canals were built to transport goods for the industrial revolution. Here we are 200 years later and they’re primarily a leisure resource. If they didn’t have a public use, they wouldn’t still be in public ownership. The not-so-good reason is that we cost the Government £60 million a year: we couldn’t continue without government support.”

Just four years later Evans told the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee on 24 April 2012 why becoming a charity would be so much better for BW than remaining a public body.

Evans joined British Waterways in 1999 as Commercial Director and shortly afterwards became a director of Drifters Leisure Limited, a position that he later handed to Sally Ash. Both Ash and Evans are graduates of Reading University.

Speculation about the reason for Evans’ resignation has focused on the possibility that he had a disagreement with the Trustees as a result of the breaches on the Trent and Mersey last September, possibly over the cost of the repairs, the funding for these or the terms of the contract with May Gurney.

“That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1601).

*Candle in the Wind by Elton John and Bernie Taupin (1973).

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