Passenger Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

QR appoints new customer boss

Queensland Rail has appointed former Qantas customer experience boss Natalie Roach as its new executive general manager of customer service and innovation.

QR boss Nick Easy said Roach’s appointment added over 18 years of high-level customer service, change-driving and innovation experience to the rail operator’s executive team.

“Natalie is a proven leader working for organisations such as Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, where she led the response to major incidents, was involved in the opening of a new terminal, and was responsible for 1,100 staff supporting more than 30 airlines,” Easy said.

Easy was appointed to head QR after Queensland’s ‘rail fail’ in 2016, when driver shortages led to hundreds of cancelled services, the sacking of the state’s transport minister, the purging of QR’s board, and the eventual rebuild of the network’s timetable.

The saga, which has led to high profile and ongoing arguments with rail unions over driver and staff training, has added to the embattled rollout of the NGR passenger trains, to drive public dissatisfaction with QR, the State Government’s rail operator.

Easy will no doubt hope Roach’s appointment will be a major step towards resolving that dissatisfaction.

He said her appointment was a key commitment in QR’s ‘Fixing the Trains’ plan, which was a direct response to the Strachan Commission’s Inquiry into the operator’s issues.

“I welcome Natalie to the Queensland Rail Executive Leadership Team and look forward to continuing to drive change and improvements in South East Queensland’s rail network,” Easy said.

“In [her time at Qantas], Natalie has driven transformation and efficiencies in complex, highly regulated, customer-facing environments; improving the customer experience and service levels.”

Roach commenced her role in the second week of January.