The role of the board is to:
- ensure effective governance of the company so that the company makes decisions at the right time and properly manages risks
- shape, challenge and direct the agenda for the company delivering stated priorities
- monitor performance and risk, making choices (or recommendations to ministers) on our priorities ‘risk appetite’ (the amount and type of risk we are willing to take in order to meet our strategic objectives)
- oversee healthy relations with our stakeholders and commercial partners
The board typically meets on a monthly basis.
David Higgins, Non-executive Chair
On 1 January 2014, David Higgins was appointed Non-Executive Chair of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd.
On 1 April 2010, he was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd. On 28 September 2010, he was appointed Chief Executive of Network Rail Infrastructure Limited with effect from 1 February 2011.
David was appointed Chief Executive Designate of the Olympic Delivery Authority in December 2005 & appointed Chief Executive with effect from 30 March 2006. Prior to December 2005, he was Chief Executive of English Partnerships, the Government’s national regeneration agency, for 3 years.
David graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Sydney & holds a Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia. Following graduation, he spent time working in the UK & Africa, returning to Australia in 1981 & joined the Lend Lease Group, an international property & construction company, in 1985. In 1995, he was appointed Managing Director & Group Chief Executive of the Group.
Mark Thurston, Executive Board Member
Mark joined High Speed Two (HS2) as Chief Executive Officer in March 2017. With more than 25 years’ experience in project and programme management, Mark has worked in both the public and private sectors on some of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects.
Previously, Mark was Managing Director for Europe at CH2M and was with the company from June 2008. During his career with CH2M Mark spent a significant amount of time in leadership roles on major programmes, including three years as Strategic Projects Director on Crossrail, leading the Programme Partner joint venture Transcend.
Prior to this Mark was Programme Delivery Manager on the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, where he led the Power Lines Under Grounding project and the £500 million Structures, Bridges and Highways programme on behalf of the CLM delivery partner consortium.
Mark has a Master’s Degree in Engineering Project Management from Loughborough University. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management at University College London and is an honorary Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Association for Project Management.
Duncan Sutherland, Non-executive Board Member
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 as Director of Regeneration at Sigma Capital, to realise large scale, long term regeneration projects. He also spent eight years on the boards of British Waterways and Scottish Canals and is now on the Advisory Board for the Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO), part of UKTI.
Richard Brown, Non-executive Board Member
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.
Neil Masom, Non-executive Board Member
Neil Masom has held high level positions within the Civil Aviation and Defence sectors with BAE Systems, specialising in Customer Services, Supply Chain and Information Management.
For the past five years he has held non-executive board director and audit committee chair roles within the IT Industry and also within government at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Information Commissioner’s Office and within the NHS.
Christine Emmett, Non-executive Board Member
Christine has a degree in Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Manchester. She began her career as a buyer at Marks and Spencer. She has 30 years’ experience of major procurement and project management including the British Rail Channel Tunnel project and rail privatisation.
Christine is currently a Gateway Reviewer on high risk projects and has reviewed high profile projects in the health and transport sectors for the UK government, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Executive.
She has wide knowledge of best practice across government. She has been a non-executive director of two health trusts and has considerable experience working in local communities for example as chairman of her local Age UK.
Baroness Jo Valentine, Non-executive Board Member
Baroness Valentine joined London First in 1997 as Managing Director, becoming Chief Executive in 2003. Her role centres on representing to national and local government the most pressing issues affecting London’s leading businesses.
Prior to London First, Jo Valentine worked in corporate finance and planning at Barings and BOC Group. She established and ran ‘The Blackburn Partnership’ a public-private regeneration partnership in 1988 and the Central London Partnership (CLP) in 1995. She was a National Lottery Commissioner from 2000 to 2005.
She became a Crossbench Peer in October 2005 and contributes frequently to debates, mainly on economic and competitiveness issues. She sits on the House of Lords Committee which provides pre-legislative scrutiny of European infrastructure proposals. Baroness Valentine is a Non-Executive Director of Peabody, an Honorary Fellow of St Hugh’s College Oxford and Birkbeck College, and a member of the Council of University College London.
Roger Mountford, Non-executive Board Member
Roger is a former member of the Board of the Civil Aviation Authority as well as Chair of The Housing Finance Corporation, which raises long term funds to finance social housing.
He is currently Chairman of HgCapital trust plc, an independent trustee of several pension schemes, and a member of the Council of the London School of Economics.
Mel Ewell, Non-executive Board Member
Mr Ewell brings a wealth of infrastructure and transport industry experience from the UK and around the world. He led Amey, one of the UK’s largest infrastructure support service companies, for 15 years.
During his tenure, the company delivered major road and rail projects, including the maintenance of the iconic Forth Road Bridge. Prior to joining Amey he was Managing Director at ADI group, a provider of transport and aviation services across Europe.
Board meeting minutes
Minutes from previous board meetings are available on request or via the National Archive website.
The audit committee recommends actions or improvements to the board.
Audit committee meeting minutes
Minutes from previous audit committee meetings are available on request or via the National Archive website.
View the HS2 development agreement.
Register of business interests