Professor Paul Plummer BA, MSc, FCIRO, FCILT

Professor Paul Plummer

Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
Industrial Professor of Rail Strategy

Contact details

School of Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Former CEO, board director and economist with experience in policy, business strategy, transport, infrastructure and change. Now using that experience as a professor, non-executive director and mentor to help individuals or organisations make a difference in areas which matter for our society.


  • MSc Economics, 1988
  • BA Economics, 1987


Other current positions

  • Network Homes Board Member (Chair of People Governance & Culture Committee, Member of Audit & Risk Committee), March 2018 to present
  • National Grid Electricity System Operator Non-Executive Board Director (Chair of Compliance Committee, Member of Health, Safety & Wellbeing Committee, former Member of Audit & Risk Committee), February 2019 to present

Previous executive positions

  • October 2015 to December 2020 – Chief Executive of Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)
  • October 2002 to October 2015:  Network Rail, Group Strategy Director
  • July 2001 – October 2002:  Associate Partner, Resources Strategy, Accenture
  • July 1999 to July 2001:  Office of Rail Regulation, Chief Economist & Director of Finance
  • April 1997 – July 1999:  Rothschild, Assistant Director, Corporate Finance
  • September 1988 - April 1997:  Associate Director, NERA Economic Consulting


  • Module lead for Business and People Management Module
  • Lecturing on other modules and on industry courses

Postgraduate supervision

  • Inclusive passenger experience for neurodivergent passengers in the rail sector
  • Applications of game theory to rail research
  • Development of performance measurement and management system for workforce occupational health, safety and wellbeing in GB Rail


Research interests

My research interests build upon my leadership and strategic roles in the transport and infrastructure sector. Key areas include transport planning, industry reform, devolution, innovation, inclusivity and use of digital twins to inform customer-focused decision-making across project or asset life-cycles.

Current projects

  • Mobility change and strategies for rail in the new normal after Covid19
  • Target 190 plus timetabling
  • West Midlands Digital Twin
  • HS2 Timetable resilience
  • Platform train interface and accessibility
  • Bridging the investment gaps in rail projects in lower and middle income countries
  • Neurodiversity in rail conference
  • Reconsidering Fruin levels of service for 21st century demographics
  • The future of freight from a human factors perspective

Other activities

  • Vice Chair, UIC Alliance of Universities for High-Speed Rail, March 2022 to present
  • Member of West Midlands Grand Railway Collaboration, March 2022 to present
  • Co-chair, rail industry Joint Executive Oversight Team (Covid-19 crisis management group), March-December 2020
  • President and Vice-President of European Infrastructure Managers (EIM) and Co-Chair of the Platform for Rail Infrastructure Managers in Europe (PRIME) from 2009 – 2015
  • Member of Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce April 2016- December 2020
  • Member of the Commission for Integrated Transport from 2014-16
  • Member of National Railway Museum Advisory Board from 2017 to 2020


Rail; transport

Languages and other information


Media experience

My prior professional roles, including as CEO of Rail Delivery Group, included significant media responsibilities often advocating or speaking on behalf of the industry. Since retiring from these executive roles I have appeared as an expert.

Policy experience

Most of my professional career has been in the public policy arena including work as a consulting economist, as a regulator, and in leadership roles across industry working closely with governments.