Mark Thurston, the head of European operations at engineering firm CH2M, has been announced the new chief executive of the HS2 high speed rail project, following the departure of Simon Kirby.
Having previously worked on delivering the 2012 London Olympics and Crossrail, Mr. Thurston was deemed the most qualified for the position after a five-month search which considered 20 potential candidates.
He will join the HS2 project just weeks before phase one of construction is scheduled to begin, between London and Birmingham, subject to its parliamentary Bill getting the royal assent.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Thurston said: “HS2 is arguably the most important investment in infrastructure in the UK for a generation, which will serve businesses and communities across much of the country. I am looking forward to leading the HS2 team and its partners to deliver a railway that will transform connectivity between our major cities and regions.”
HS2 chairman David Higgins added: “Mark not only knows the UK rail industry from the bottom up, but has worked for organisations operating at the highest level globally. His grasp of how to manage the transition from page to reality makes him not only the right person to take over at HS2 as we are on the verge of Royal Assent, but also to see it through the years leading up to the first train being commissioned.
The challenge is huge in terms of the task and timescale, but the board believes Mark has the knowledge, experience and leadership qualities to deliver the project within the budget we have been given and to do so in a way that recognises our responsibility both to Parliament and the communities in which we will be operating.”
Mark Thurston will formally take up the position of HS2 chief executive in spring, once he has left his position at CH2M.
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