HS2 has appointed Mark Thurston as its new Chief Executive following a five-month global search to fill the role.
The search was led by Heidrick and Struggles who considered 20 potential candidates working across the globe on projects in America, Australia and Asia, as well as in the UK.
With over 30 years of experience in the rail industry, Mr Thurston began his career as an apprentice with Transport for London (TfL), before taking on a number 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.
The Chairman of HS2, David Higgins, said that Mr Thurston’s vast experience within the rail industry made him the ideal candidate.
He 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.”
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Thurston 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.”
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