Robin Hirsch MA, MBA, FCMA

Robin Hirsch is an Irishman, educated in Japan, France, Ireland, Germany and England, with a first degree from Oxford and an MBA with distinction from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. He is also a Chartered Management Accountant and an Honorary Research Fellow of Imperial College, London and of Kingston University. He facilitated CoMET from its initial launch to its growth into the leading metro benchmarking body worldwide.




Prior to becoming a consultant and part-time academic, he enjoyed thirteen years’ experience as a senior manager and Finance Director of high technology and financial service companies, including National Semiconductor, Burroughs (now Unisys) and Sun Alliance Group. He joined A T Kearney in 1985 and founded his own consultancy Kingdom Technology in 1990, which specialises in corporate and technology strategy in asset-intensive industries.

His consulting experience in 1985-95 was mainly in profit improvement, technology strategy and corporate turnaround projects, including cost reduction and resource re-allocation to those parts of the business that could contribute most to the recovery of the company. Examples included the automotive sector (General Motors, Land Rover, Pilkington Glass and its subsidiaries), food and drink companies and copper mines in Poland, electricity companies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine.

In 1992, he helped found the Railway Technology Strategy Centre, Imperial College (RTSC), which since 1995 has been his main occupation. He was responsible for the initial development of the CoMET benchmarking group, growing it together with its sister group Nova from 5 to 28 metro railways, including almost all the world’s largest.

He initiated and managed the RTSC’s first national railway strategy & best practice projects, first with DB, FS and RENFE, (the national railways of Germany, Italy and Spain) and then Irish Rail. For IMPROVERAIL, the EU Commission study of all European rail infrastructure managers, he provided the benchmarking methodology. His latest project on comparing world escalator specifications and asset management is expected by one client to save over $800m.

He specialises in asset & technology management, reliability and maintenance practices (infrastructure and rolling stock), and safety. His strategy projects include both ICT and operating technologies, infrastructure investment and performance measurement.

He lectures on economics, strategy and information systems design at 3 universities: Imperial College, Birmingham, and Kingston, where (as at Imperial) he is a Research Fellow and helped to found another Centre, this one for Applied Research in Information Systems (CARIS). In 2004-6 he was Business Development Manager Europe for MTR Corporation and worked with McKinsey and others to develop their European market entry strategy.

In 2007 he edited “Managing Railway Operations & Maintenance – Best Practices from KCRC” (University of Birmingham.) For this37-chapter book, he wrote Infrastruct­ure Maintenance, Enhancement of Station Installations, Outsourcing & Contractor Management and 15 other chapters. He also wrote “Technology and Teams” for the Gower Book of Teamworking, various articles in journals, conference papers on safety management systems, safety issues, benchmarking and global trends in urban railways.

Robin is trilingual in English, French and German, can work in Italian and speaks some Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Czech.