Simon Kirby resigns as chief executive of High Speed 2

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HS2 Ltd, the company charged with designing and building the UK’s new high-speed rail network, has made two major announcements today.

The first is the resignation of chief executive Simon Kirby.

Simon, who joined the project from Network Rail two and a half years ago, will be taking up the position of chief operating officer at Rolls Royce. No replacement has yet been named.

In announcing his departure, Simon Kirby said: “HS2 is not just a highly ambitious project, but also one which will leave a lasting legacy for Britain. It has been, therefore, a huge honour to have been its Chief Executive and to have been involved in creating a leadership team made up of the best talents from this country and elsewhere. I have absolute confidence in their ability to deliver the project and, in doing so, to help transform the way we do things in this country.”

On a more positive note, former Amey group CEO Mel Ewell has been appointed to the HS2 board as a non-executive director. Before his retirement in March of this year, Mel had been in charge of the infrastructure engineering group for 15 years.

Commenting on Mel Ewell’s appointment, HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins said: “His great experience in the construction industry speaks for itself, as does the huge respect in which he is held. As such he will be a great asset to the Board’s deliberations as we move to the point of construction.”

Mel Ewell

Mel Ewell