A construction supremo has been hired by HS2 Ltd to run ‘what will be the biggest infrastructure project in Europe’.
Simon Kirby, who has been made chief executive – construction, joins from Network Rail where he is managing director of infrastructure projects, leading on a £5bn a year investment programme to improve the country’s railways.
It has also been confirmed that the current chief executive, Alison Munro, will continue in that role until September when she will become managing director of development to oversee the passage of the Hybrid Bill through parliament and the development of phase two of the project in the north.
New HS2 chairman, David Higgins, said: “As I start my tenure as chairman of this essential project that will free up much needed capacity on our crowded railways, I am extremely pleased that we have secured Simon to run what will be the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world.
“Delivering this project in a way which is not just cost effective, but also delivers its benefits to as much of the country as soon as possible, is a huge engineering project, but Simon has proven throughout his career that he is capable of taking on such a unique challenge.
“I fully realise that the skills he brings to the task are much sought after throughout the world and we are delighted he has agreed to take on the role - and that Alison Munro has agreed to continue in her role of over-seeing both the parliamentary process and the development of Phase Two.
“HS2 has the potential to re-balance the UK economy, easing pressure in the South, and opening up the possibility of growth in the North.
“We are fortunate to be able to call on the skills and commitment of both Simon and Alison to make that potential a reality.”
In his 10 years at Network Rail Mr Kirby has overseen landmark schemes such as the transformation of Kings Cross in London, the modernisation of Reading Station, the Thameslink programme and the refurbishment of the Forth River Bridge in Scotland.