Bane NOR ceo bows out with immediate effect
Bane NOR ceo Gorm Frimannslund has stepped down as chief of Norway’s infrastructure manager, the company announced on Tuesday. Henning Bråtebæk has stepped in as his immediate replacement. Frimannslund will keep his ties to the company until January 31, 2024.
According to Bane NOR, the decision for Frimannslund to step down was reached in agreement with the board. A company statement reads that Frimannslund’s departure was the “right” move following “a demanding period”. This hints to the fact that the botched opening of the 3.5-billion-euro Folloban railway may have pushed Frimannslund out the door.
The Folloban between between Olso and the city of Ski was opened in December 2022 with great fanfare, with King Harald V and crown prince Haakon Magnus in attendance. A mere week later, smoke was discovered coming out of a technical facility at Ski station. Bane NOR had to postpone the resumption of services twice, eventually deciding it would refrain from communicating an opening date until all issues were ironed out. The infrastructure manager also said it had been “overly optimistic” in its schedule for fixes and testing. Bane NOR has called upon PwC to carry out an independent investigation into the events that led to the multi-billion-euro Folloban railway being suspended shortly following its opening. Services were eventually resumed on March 5.
In addition to head of the the Norwegian railway manager, Frimannslund was also president of the European association of rail infrastructure managers, EIM Rail. Dyan Crowther, ceo of the UK high-speed 1 (HS1) will follow him up as interim president.
“Frimannslund is a great person, and I have greatly appreciated working with him”, Bane NOR chair Cato Hellesjø said in comments on the ceo’s exit. “Frimannslund has led Bane NOR through demanding change processes based on the Railway Reform that was adopted in 2015, and laid the foundations for the modernisation of the railway and development at the junctions.”
The task of leading Bane NOR now falls to Bråtebæk, who made the transfer from operation and maintenance company Spordrift, where he was managing director. His previous experience also includes posts at NSB Bane and Norwegian Railways.
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