Press release

Four non-executive directors appointed to HS2 Ltd

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Richard Brown, Godric Smith, Duncan Sutherland and Mike Welton have all been appointed as non-executive directors to the board of HS2 Ltd.

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Transport Secretary Justine Greening today (28 June 2012) announced the appointment of 4 non-executive directors to the board of HS2 Ltd, completing a recruitment process which started in January.

HS2 Ltd, the independent company set up to deliver a high speed rail network between London and the north of England, has now moved from an advisory role to become a delivery body. The main role of HS2 Ltd in the development of this project will be to undertake work and provide the advice which enables the department to deposit a hybrid bill with Parliament by the end of 2013.

The following appointments have been made:

Richard Brown has held high level positions in and around the rail sector. Through his association with HS1 and Eurostar, he brings experience of the specification and delivery of major rail infrastructure, and ensuring longer term value for money. He is also able to add further value through his experience of running an operational high speed railway.

Godric Smith is currently Director of Government Communications for London 2012. From 2006 to 2011 he was Director of Communications for the Olympic Delivery Authority. He worked at Downing Street for 10 years from 1996 to 2006 including as the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman from 2001 to 2004.

Duncan Sutherland has undertaken a number of senior development roles working with local authorities; as Director of City Development in Coventry, and as Chief Executive of the property and investment arm of the City of Edinburgh Council. For the last 12 years, he has worked with local authorities and developers to realise large scale, long term regeneration projects. He will advise and challenge the senior executive to ensure the widest possible receipt of benefits.

Mike Welton has been re-appointed to the board. During his early career he was part of department’s design and construction management team for the M3 and M25. He returned to the private sector and led, from senior executive positions, many large civil engineering projects, including the London Underground Jubilee Line tunnels and stations. He retired from his position as Group Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty in 2004, to follow a non-executive career.

Duncan Sutherland is also appointed by Scottish Ministers as a Non Executive Board Director of the Scottish Canals Board.

As non-executive directors, their primary responsibilities will be to ensure that:

  • the department requirements, laid out in the sponsor’s requirement and project development agreement, are adhered to throughout development
  • the performance and conduct of management in meeting agreed milestones, including the preparation of annual reports and annual accounts and other statutory duties is monitored effectively
  • high standards of corporate governance are observed, including high standards of probity in line with both best practice and statutory requirements
  • the executive function is provided with advice and challenge in all areas affecting development
  • stakeholder relationships with partnership organisations are developed and improved

The board will be based in HS2 Ltd’s offices in central London. Non-executive directors of HS2 Ltd receive a per diem of £950, and are expected to commit 2 days per month to the business of HS2 Ltd.

Public appointments are made for a period of 3 to 5 years, however re-appointment is possible, if mutually agreed, to a maximum engagement of 10 years. It is necessary to ensure that the board has continuity, by staggering appointments.

Godric and Duncan have been appointed for 3 years. Godric will take up his post in October, on conclusion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Richard and Mike have been appointed for 5 years, as they will provide advice and challenge on the preparations for construction following Royal Assent for the hybrid bill in 2015.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said:

HS2 is an absolutely vital project that will rebalance our economy and provide the only viable solution to the looming capacity crunch on our rail network. The board of HS2 Ltd has an important role to play in ensuring successful delivery of the scheme and getting the best outcome for taxpayers. Mike, Godric, Richard and Duncan bring with them a breadth and depth of experience in delivering major projects, which will be invaluable as we press ahead with HS2.

Richard Brown said:

I am delighted to take up this appointment. This is a fantastically important project for the country, and I will work to ensure that we deliver a project that is not simply a design marvel but also, in the longer term, a successful operational railway.

Duncan Sutherland said:

I am very happy to be joining the board of HS2 Ltd. This is a vital project for the country and I will work to ensure that the regenerative benefits, and opportunities for long term, large scale development, are maximised across the high speed rail network.

Godric Smith said:

High speed rail has an important part to play in helping modernise our national infrastructure, renew our railways and promote growth. I look forward to making a contribution to the development of HS2 over the next 3 years.

Mike Welton said:

I am very pleased to have been asked to remain in my position on the board of HS2 Ltd. I will continue to work to deliver this project, to ensure that our transport infrastructure is fit to meet our needs for the future, addressing the very real problems affecting capacity, while securing the best value for money for the taxpayer.

Notes to editors

The non-executive directors of HS2 Ltd are appointments made by the Secretary of State for Transport. This appointment falls within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments and will be made in accordance with the ‘Code of practice for ministerial appointments to public bodies’.

All appointments are made on merit, and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for an appointees’ political activity (if any is declared) to be made public. The appointees all declared that they have no political activity.

HS2 Ltd is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB). It was also established as a Companies Act company, limited by guarantee, on 14 January 2009. It has a sole member, the Secretary of State for Transport, for whom it is remitted to undertake work.

HS2 Ltd is funded from the public purse by grants-in-aid. The company’s objective was to “advise the Secretary of State for Transport on the development of proposals for a new railway line from London to the West Midlands and potentially beyond”.

Following a decision by the Secretary of State for Transport to proceed with a London to West Midlands route, the remit was extended to:

  • undertake further work and provide advice to enable the department to deposit a hybrid nill with Parliament by the end of 2013, in order to gain Royal Assent by May 2015, in respect of the London to West Midlands line
  • the delivery of a safe and affordable route design; assessment of the environmental impacts of this design and production of the ‘Environmental statement’; and, the consultation with all relevant bodies on aspects of the proposals
  • developing routes from the West Midlands to Leeds, with a connection to the East Coast Main Line, and to Manchester, with a connection to the West Coast Main Line, and a spur to Heathrow, to include appropriate engineering designs and sustainability appraisal and the implications for the whole Y network
  • prepare materials and provide advice to develop and inform future consultations

The current and previous board have been very effective during the conceptual stage of the project. Prior to the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision Andy Friend had already notified the department that he did not wish to serve on a reappointed board for the implementation phase. Sir Brian Briscoe notified the department that he wished to step down from his role as Chair, but was willing to continue his non-executive director role until 2014, in order to provide continuity on the board.

HS2 and major projects media enquiries

Published 28 June 2012