Mark Thurston, currently managing director overseeing CH2M’s European operations, including those in the UK, has been appointed as the new chief executive of HS2.
The post became vacant when Simon Kirby left to join Rolls Royce as chief operating officer at the turn of the year.
Since joining the rail industry as a TfL apprentice over 30 years ago, Mark has had various roles with the Nichols group and Metronet. He joined CH2M in 2008, working on the 2012 Olympic Games and Crossrail, before taking on his most recent role of regional managing director.
Commenting on the appointment, HS2 chairman Sir 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.”
Due to take up his £535,000 pa post in the spring, when he has completed his responsibilities to CH2M, Mark commented: “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.”