Our executive team

Find out more about the people in First Great Western’s executive team and their backgrounds, from our managing director to the people leading our rail improvements.

Our Directors 

 Mark Hopwood Managing Director
 Andy Mellors Engineering Director
 Ben Caswell Finance Director
 Sue Evans Director of Communications
 Matthew Golton Projects and Planning Director
 Diane Burke Head of Sales and Marketing
 Sharon Johnston Head of HR
 Ben Rule Operations Director
 Paul Williams
Head of Safety

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director

Mark joined First Great Western as Performance Director in January 2008 and became Managing Director the following December. Before this he was National Express’ Managing Director for train operators; Silverlink, C2C and Gatwick Express. Since joining us he has worked on our senior management team to successfully improve performance across the network.

Andy Mellors, Engineering Director

Andy became Engineering Director in 2007. He previously worked for First ScotRail, since the franchise began in 2004. During his time at ScotRail he was responsible for overseeing significant improvements in fleet performance and worked as Engineering Director and Deputy Managing Director.

Ben Caswell, Finance Director

Ben joined First Great Western in 2004 and is responsible for setting and meeting clear financial targets while managing an investment of £200 million in our franchise. With extensive financial management experience within communications and airline industries, Ben is also working to ensure we meet our commitment to pay the Government £1.3 billion by 2013.

Sue Evans, Director of Communications

Sue joined First Great Western in February 2007. Before that, she worked as Director of Communications for rail freight operator EWS.

Matthew Golton, Projects and Planning Director

Matthew joined First Great Western as Projects Director in September 2007. He previously worked for the FirstGroup rail bid team as Bid Director. Matthew took up his current post as Projects and Planning Director back in February 2009.

Diane Burke, Head of Sales and Marketing

Diane joined First Great Western in March 2010 with a wealth of railway experience. She has previously worked for House of Fraser, BAA and National Express.

Sharon Johnston, Head of HR

Sharon joined First Great Western in January 2010, having previously worked in the railway since 1994 in HR and as Head of Drivers. She is responsible for the Business Partners and the Regional Resourcing Manager within FGW.

Ben Rule, Operations Director

Ben Rule, First Great Western Operations Director has a wide and varied experience in all areas of rail industry, most recently as operations lead on Great Western and Crossrail bidding for the National Express Bid team. 
He was also Deputy Operations Director for National Express East Anglia, responsible for Control, Performance, Train Planning and Train Crew, and has been both Autumn Programme Manager for Network Rail and an Inspector for the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

Ben started his railway career in 1997 with signalling and operational management roles in Railtrack and Network Rail including Area Operations Manager, Great Eastern. 

Paul Williams, Head of Safety

Paul joined First Great Western as the Head of Safety in September 2013. Prior to this he worked for TfL for 14 years, primarily in safety audit, operation safety and construction safety. Starting there as a HSE Auditor and rising to a HSE Senior Manager.

 Paul has also worked for British Telecom and the Jubilee Line Extension Project.