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HS2 Ltd names Wild as new chief executive

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Mark Wild

The UK’s controversial HS2 high-speed rail project has named Mark Wild as its new CEO.

Wild, who was previously CEO of the Crossrail project in London, which is now known as the Elizabeth Line, will take over from HS2 Ltd’s previous boss Mark Thurston who left in September 2023.

HS2’s services are due to start in 2033 between West London’s Old Oak Common station and Birmingham Curzon Street after original plans to extend the line north of Birmingham to Manchester were scrapped by UK prime minister Rishi Sunak last year. Although Sunak has committed to building a HS2 link to Euston station in central London.

The current UK government decided in October to appoint a development company, separate from HS2 Ltd, to manage the “delivery” of the Euston redevelopment necessary to accommodate HS2 services. But this policy could change again after the UK’s general election on 4 July.

In a statement, HS2 said that Wild’s appointment was part of a series of moves “aimed at bearing down on costs and safely delivering the scheme on time”.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “HS2 between Euston and the West Midlands will provide faster connections for millions of passengers, grow the economy, regenerate communities and create tens of thousands of high skilled jobs across the country.

“Mark Wild brings a wealth of experience with him, including leading the successful delivery of Crossrail, and I have every confidence he will grip costs and robustly oversee this project to transform rail travel for generations.”

HS2 Ltd said that Wild’s starting date at the company has yet to be confirmed, with Sir Jon Thompson continuing to serve as executive chair during this interim period.

“I look forward to leading HS2 as it progresses from major construction works to its rail systems phase and beyond to the first passenger services,” said Wild.

“The scale and ambition of HS2 is phenomenal and will deliver wide-reaching benefits for the UK through more jobs, economic growth and better journeys.”

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