Press release

New leadership of HS2 announced

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

Sir David Higgins announced as new chairman of HS2 Ltd.

Doug Oakervee has announced today (25 September 2013) that he will be standing down as Chairman of HS2 Ltd at the end of the year.

His successor has been announced as current Network Rail Chief Executive Sir David Higgins, who will join HS2 Ltd on 1st January 2014 on a part time basis before taking up the post full time from March.

Doug Oakervee, a distinguished civil engineer and former Chairman of Crossrail Ltd, took up the post of HS2 Ltd Chairman in April 2012. He has overseen the development of the detailed proposals for the new High Speed 2 line and laid a firm foundation for the delivery of the largest rail project seen in the UK in more than 100 years.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:

The fantastic work that Doug Oakervee has delivered as Chairman of HS2 Ltd is testament to the experience and expertise that he brought to this role.

His energy and professionalism have ensured that the detailed proposals for Phase 1 of the country’s first high speed line north of London will be introduced to Parliament on schedule later this year.

The appointment of Sir David Higgins to replace Doug Oakervee ensures that we will continue to have leaders at the heart of HS2 who have a track record of delivery. His experience at both Network Rail and as Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority – where he oversaw construction of the magnificent Olympic Park, a legacy which will be enjoyed by generations – will be essential to ensure we deliver HS2 on time and on budget.

Mr Oakervee will remain in post to oversee the introduction of the government’s Hybrid Bill before the end of this year. The Bill will secure parliamentary approval for Phase 1 of the 350 mile route between London and Birmingham, allowing work to start in 2017 and freeing-up essential capacity for passengers and freight across the rail network.

HS2 Ltd Chairman Doug Oakervee said:

I believe HS2 is vital to the growth of the UK economy and will deliver the capacity our rail network sorely needs. Sir David is the right man to continue the delivery of this project. I am delighted at his appointment and am confident that alongside Alison Munro our Chief Executive he will continue to drive the scheme forward.

I am proud of all that I have achieved, particularly that we will be bringing the Hybrid Bill to Parliament by the end of the year, after which I will be standing down. I am pleased to have been able to play a key role in delivering this project which will serve the country for many generations to come.

Chief Executive of Network Rail Sir David Higgins said:

I am delighted to be taking up this role. Working at Network Rail I know the challenges we have ahead with capacity on the railways – they are real and we need to take action now. I also know the significant benefits that improved journey times between our northern cities will bring not just to the north, but the UK economy as a whole.

HS2 is the right solution. It is vital for both passengers and the economy and will put the UK in a different league in terms of infrastructure. My first priority will be to rigorously scrutinise costs to ensure they remain under control.

HS2 presents a strategic opportunity for this country and I am determined to make sure we take it by delivering a railway that will allow business and communities to prosper in the long term.

Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd Alison Munro said:

Doug Oakervee has been an inspirational Chairman who brought industry knowledge and a proven track record of delivering large, complex rail projects to his tenure at HS2 Ltd.

In David Higgins HS2 Ltd has secured a proven leader with drive, passion and experience.

Our new Chairman will bring with him a fantastic track record of delivery thanks to the success of the London Olympic Games. My team and I look forward to working with him as we move into the next chapter of delivering this vital project.

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