A native of the Black Country, Tony was born in Sedgley and educated at The Dormston Secondary Modern School, leaving school at the age of 16 with CSE qualifications to start a Commercial Apprenticeship with Wolverhampton-based Rockwell-Thompson, a motor pressing manufacturer, and at the age of 21 became a qualified Chartered Management Accountant. He is also a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.
Tony has held a number of financial positions at Austin Rover, Yale Fork Lift Trucks, and in 1989 became Financial Director at GEC Cannon Industries based in Coseley. In 1993 he moved to GEC Alstom, the train builder based in Washwood Heath as Financial Director. He spent time as Procurement Director and then Commercial Director culminating in leading the team who sold the Tilting Trains to Virgin. In 1999, he joined Virgin Trains as Major Contracts Director responsible for introducing the new trains and overseeing the track upgrade programme. In 2004 Tony became the Chief Executive of Virgin Rail Group responsible for the Virgin’s rail business employing 3500 people with a turnover of £1 billion per annum.
Tony retired as CEO of Virgin Rail Group in 2013 and is now a non-executive director of Virgin StartUp, a not for profit company which provides financial support for new business ventures. He is also a board member of the INVICTUS Multi Academy Trust.
Tony is passionate about employability and the need for Higher and Further Education to provide young people with not just an academic qualification but also with the skills and attributes that business and industry require. He is a strong advocate of “on the job” training and successfully introduced a Graduate Apprentice Scheme at Virgin Trains prior to retiring which continues today.
Tony also holds an Honorary Degree from the University of Wolverhampton.