Coucher was instrumental in establishing Network Rail following the demise of Railtrack in 2002 overseeing widespread improvements in network performance. He has, however, been in the headlines recently following speculation that the company's top executives will receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in bonuses in addition to their high salaries despite pressure on public spending. Coucher recently said that he was worth every penny of his £600,000 annual salary.
His decision to resign also follows recent announcements by Britain's new coalition government that funding for major infrastructure projects is likely to be scaled back in addition to a five-year cost savings target of 21%. NR is currently one year into a five-year financial settlement, with negotiations set to begin shortly on what is expected to be a reduced settlement for 2014-2019.