Executive team

Meet our team

Mark Hopwood – Managing Director

Mark joined us in 2008, becoming Managing Director later in the year.

He has worked closely with our senior management team to successfully improve performance across the network.

Mark sits on the Board of the Institute of Railway Operators and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics.

Richard Rowland – Western Programme Alliance & Planning Director

Richard joined us in 2015, having held various roles in FirstGroup since 2005.

He leads our project team and is responsible for planning the timetable

Richard also plays an important role in our partnership with Network Rail; making sure our customers' journeys are disrupted as little as possible when works on the line take place.

Sharon Johnston – HR Director

Sharon joined us in 2010, having held a variety of roles within the rail industry.

She is responsible for the delivery of the HR Strategy for more than 5000 GWR staff.

Sharon has fellowship membership at Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

Matthew Golton – Commercial Development Director

Matthew joined us in 2007, after a spell as Bid Director for FirstGroup's Rail Division.

His team are responsible for securing the agreements with the DfT, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and others that enable us to enhance services and routes, increase capacity, build new stations and improve facilities such as car parks and transport interchanges.

Matthew also lead negotiations with the DfT on our last two franchise agreement

Joe Graham – Business Assurance Director

Joe joined us in 2011 from the BBC, bringing with him over 20 years of business management and compliance experience.

He is responsible for our compliance, security, business planning, sustainability, corporate responsibility and environmental matters.

Joe also manages our relationship with the DfT and ORR as well taking the lead on Corporate Responsibility including Environmental matters.

Ben Caswell – Finance Director

Ben joined us in 2003 from Dell Computers.

He is responsible for finance, IT, station properties, procurement and legal affairs.

Ben has been a member of the board of Great Western since joining the company and plays a key role in our relationship with the Department for Transport.

Laura Dunley – Sales & Marketing Director

Laura joined us in 2016, becoming Sales & Marketing Director later in the year.

She has enormous experience in the commercial arena and focuses on improving customer satisfaction; as well as being responsible for our revenues.

Laura knows the industry well; having started her rail career with us in 2002, before going on to become Commercial Director at First Capital Connect.

Andy Mellors – Engineering Director and Deputy Managing Director

Andy joined us in 2007 - having held similar roles within FirstGroup since 2002.

He is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of over 900 vehicles across seven depots - where we employ more than 1,200 people.

Andy is a Chartered Engineer and the current Chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers - South West Centre Rail Division.