The CEO of HS2, Mark Thurston, has announced he is to step down as head of the organisation after six-and-a-half years.
The announcement comes as Thurston said he had “agreed” with the board that “someone else” should lead the organisation.
Mark Thurston said: “Leading this organisation has been the highlight of my career and a privilege from the first day – the programme has come such a long way, and I want to thank everyone who has worked on the project during my time.
“The next 18-24 months will see the project move into an exciting new stage.
“I have agreed with the board that someone else should lead the organisation and programme through what will be another defining period for HS2.”
Mark joined HS2 in March 2017, shortly after the organisation secured Royal Assent for Phase One, giving the powers to build the first section of the railway.
In 2020, he secured government’s approval to move into major construction works and fully mobilised a workforce, which stands at 28,500 today, including 1,200 apprentices.
Commenting on the announcement, Mark Harper, secretary of state for Transport, said: “I’d like to thank Mark Thurston for his work over the last six years progressing Britain’s most transformative rail project.
“As well as successfully overseeing the start of construction, he has ensured HS2 has created tens of thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the country.
“As HS2 enters its next phase, the government remains committed to unlocking all the benefits of this flagship infrastructure scheme – increasing rail capacity, connecting communities, and growing the economy.”
More on HS2:
- HS2 confirms plans to extend line to Manchester
- Midlands factory starts producing more than 2,700 giant HS2 viaduct segments
- HS2 completes Copthall Green Tunnel’s western portal
Mark will leave HS2 at the end of September, when Sir Jon Thompson will become executive chair for an interim period while a new chief executive is recruited.
Thompson said: “Mark’s leadership has been critical to the success of the HS2 programme.
“In his time as CEO, the project has moved from a scheme in development to a major construction project that employs 28,500 people across the country.
“His legacy is building the foundations of HS2, which will bring growth and prosperity to towns and cities across the Midlands and the North.
“I want to thank him for his leadership and service.”
Thompson will be supported at board level by deputy chair Elaine Holt.
Image: Mark Thurston, outgoing CEO, HS2. Credit: HS2
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