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M6 Toll boss leaves company

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

The boss of Midland Expressway, which runs the 27-mile M6 Toll motorway, has left the company.

Andy Pearson took over as chief executive in the summer of 2015, replacing Tom Fanning who had led Midland Expressway for more than 14 years.

Mr Pearson's departure comes six months after the UK's only pay-as-you-go motorway was bought by Australian investment group IFM. Although it has never been revealed what IFM paid, the loss-making motorway had been up for sale with a price tag of almost £2 billion.

In a statement Midland Expressway said: "Andy Pearson was recruited to perform the role of interim CEO, primarily to steer the company through the process that resulted in the change of control to IFM Investors.

"He has now completed this successfully and has therefore concluded his role to go onto his next project. During his time, Andy successfully steered important operational development which resulted in a period of growth of users of the road.

"The company is now actively recruiting for the full time role of CEO of the business although it is expected that this will take several months."

In the meantime non-executive director Graham Parcell has taken over as acting as chief executive since the start of November. He joined the board in 2013 and most recently led the project for the sale of the company on behalf of the board and the former lenders.

Mr Parcell said: “It’s business as usual for us. The M6toll road is a world class facility and we are committed to continuing investment in it. It’s great to see that more and more drivers are realising the benefits of using it for travel through the area."

Mr Pearson has returned to working for his consultancy, Libra Associates, based in Berkshire.

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He has overseen a strong period for the M6 Toll as it benefited from drivers switching from the M6 because of long-running roadworks and continuing congestion. Mr Pearson also introduced the first hike in car tolls in five years this summer, when charges rose 40p to £5.90.

Before taking over running the M6 Toll Mr Pearson had spent 18 months working with private investors developing manufacturing opportunities in China.

Before that he spent five years with engineering support business Babcock International Group developing its interests in Brazil and the Middle East, and as chief executive of its UK rail construction business.

The M6 Toll carries more than 53,000 vehicles per weekday (Mon-Fri) on average. The company says this represents more than 60 per cent of all through-traffic in the M6 corridor, with more than 90 per cent of through-traffic using the M6 Toll in peak periods and times of significant congestion.

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Midland Expressway says, on average, overall traffic on the M6 Toll has grown by 7.6 per cent each year since 2012.

Meanwhile Midland Expressway has recruited Australian toll road veteran Ken Daley as a director.

His specific role at the company is unclear, but Mr Daley, aged 67, was brought in to run the Indiana Toll Road company in the USA for 16 months after it was bought out of bankrupcy by IFM in 2015. Previously he had worked as a senior executive at major Australian toll road group Transurban.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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