The board of HS2 has selected Mark Thurston to be the new chief executive for the organisation.
Thurston is currently regional managing director with CH2M, overseeing its European operations, including the UK. He has worked for the company since 2008, on the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail, where he was lead for the programme partner joint venture for three years. He will start with HS2 in the Spring, once he has transitioned his leadership responsibilities at CH2M.
The 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.
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.’
Said Thurston: ‘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.’
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.