Sir Michael Holden was born in 1956 and joined British Rail as a Traffic Student in 1974. He then worked as an Assistant Station Manager at Richmond and King's Cross and then became the Area Customer Services Manager for Slough. He then worked as Area Manager at Watford and Operations Manager South Western. In 1994 he became a Zone Director for Anglia and Southern, at Railtrack, staying in this role until 2004. From 2004 to 2007 he was the Managing Director of Southeastern. He served as the Chairman of Directly Operated Railways from 2015 to 2017.