Image shows Matt Rice - New chief operating officer of Northern by Jonny Walton

Northern appoints Network Rail executive as new chief operating officer

Northern has appointed Matt Rice as its new chief operating officer.

Rice, who lives in York, North Yorkshire, is currently a route director at Network Rail and is set to join the train operator later in the spring.

He will succeed Tricia Williams, the outgoing chief operating officer, who was announced as Northern’s new managing director in August 2023 and will step into the managing director role when Nick Donovan leaves in the spring.

A graduate of Aberystwyth University, he joined Network Rail as a management trainee and has gone on to hold a diverse range of roles spanning the intricacies of the UK railway system.

After a period with railways in the Middle East, he returned to the UK, where in 2019 he was appointed as route director for the north and east route of Network Rail.

Tricia Williams, incoming managing director of Northern, said: “Matt has extensive knowledge of the UK rail network and a clear understanding of the size and scope of our operation.

“What also became clear during the recruitment process was his steadfast commitment to understanding and enhancing the colleague experience for the teams he has led, recognising its importance and impact on the quality of service delivered.”

In the chief operating officer role, Rice will lead all Northern service and engineering functions across the North of England, with the objective of delivering a stable and reliable service for customers.

Commenting on his appointment, Matt Rice said: “I am really looking forward to joining the team at Northern and working with Tricia and colleagues across the region to deliver for our customers.

“I have spent my career focused on making things better and I am committed to fostering a positive workplace culture for all and delivering great rail services for people across the North of England.” 

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

Contact Information

Northern Trains Press Office