Swiss railway chief to step down next year

Meyer wants to be a company board member and help charities and start-ups when he leaves Swiss Federal Railways. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

The embattled head of Swiss Federal Railways, Andreas Meyer, has stated he will step down from his position by the end of next year. The state-owned railway company has been embroiled in a safety row following a fatal accident that killed a conductor last month.

This content was published on September 4, 2019 - 11:45

Meyer, who has been CEO of the company since 2007, issued a statement on Wednesday saying he would exit by the end of 2020 at the latest. He said he wanted to remain in his post to complete a strategic overhaul process and deal with the aftermath of the accident.

“Until my resignation, I assume full responsibility for the company and will tackle the current challenges with high priority,” he stated.

Last month, Meyer suggested in a newspaper interview that he could withstand the pressure, which included a parliamentary probe. “This is not my first crisis. I may not be new, but I am still fresh,” he said.

The Federal Railways indicated in a statement on Wednesday that the timing of Meyer’s departure had been already been decided in May, suggesting it was unrelated to the fatal accident. "We regret but understand Andreas Meyer's decision," said President Monika Ribar.

Supporting charities

“Andreas Meyer has successfully implemented the integrated railway system that is the envy of many countries and has successfully mastered a number of major projects,” she added. Ribar also said that the fatal accident had been a “demanding situation” for the whole company.

Meyer, 58, said he would pursue “selected projects” when he steps down, “including on boards of directors, and in supporting start-ups and charitable organisations.”

The fatal accident on August 4, which saw a conductor trapped by a door and dragged along a platform by a train, has led to a review of safety at the company. Checks have found faults with the safety mechanisms of other train doors and there are media reports that the problem had been known for some time.

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