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Railhub Archive
2017-01-26 HS2-001
HS2 Ltd


HS2 announces new CEO

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High Speed 2 Ltd
Mark Thurston

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HS2 Ltd

HS2 announces new CEO

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26 January 2017
source HS2 Ltd
type Press release

The board of HS2 is pleased to confirm that it has selected Mark Thurston to be the new Chief Executive for the organisation.

Mark began his career in the rail industry over 30 years ago as an apprentice with TfL, before fulfilling a series of roles with The Nichols Group, Metronet, and, working for CH2M since 2008, on the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail, where he was lead for the Programme Partner joint venture for three years. He is currently the regional managing director overseeing CH2M's European operations, which includes those in the UK.

His appointment comes after a five month global search led by Heidrick and Struggles, which reviewed some 20 potential candidates working on projects in America, Australia and Asia, as well as in the UK.

The Chairman of HS2, David Higgins, said:

"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 will start with HS2 in the Spring, once he has transitioned his leadership responsibilities at CH2M.

On being appointed, he 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"

Notes to Editors

Mark Thurston will receive a base salary of £535,000 pa, plus a pension allowance of £65,000, and a potential bonus of up to ten percent of his base salary.

The Government gave the go ahead for a UK high speed rail network, called High Speed Two (HS2), on 10 January 2012.

HS2 will be a Y-shaped rail network providing direct, high capacity, high speed rail links between London and Birmingham and on to Leeds and Manchester. HS2 will improve capacity across the rail network, shorten journey times between Britain’s major cities, boost the UK economy and create tens of thousands of jobs.

In 2012, HS2 Ltd submitted proposals to the Secretary of State for Phase Two of the project from the West Midlands to Leeds and Manchester. The Government announced its initial preferred route for Phase Two on 28 January 2013 and the public consultation on these proposals ran from 17 July 2013 to 31 January 2014.

The HS2 hybrid Bill for Phase One of the new railway between London and the West Midlands (effectively the ‘in-principle’ planning application for the scheme) was deposited in Parliament on 25 November 2013.

MPs debated and approved second reading of the High Speed Rail (hybrid) Bill for construction and operation of the line between London and the West Midlands in the House of Commons on 28 April 2014. MPs voted 452 to 41 to agree the second reading of the Bill.

In November 2015 the Government confirmed the section of the Phase Two route between Fradley, at the northern end of Phase 1, and Crewe. Known as Phase 2a it will open in 2027 and deliver the benefits of high speed rail to Crewe; Manchester; north west England; north Wales and Scotland six years earlier than planned.

The Government made an announcement on the rest of the Phase 2 route serving Manchester on the western leg, and the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds on the eastern leg on 15 November 2016.

HS2 Ltd is a company wholly owned by the Department for Transport (DfT). It is responsible for design, engineering and construction of High Speed Two (HS2).


Alastair Cowan
020 7944 8775

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