HS2: Mark Wild appointed new CEO of the UK high-speed rail project

Mark Wild OBE has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd to lead the completion of the high-speed line and help deliver its transformative benefits.

As one of the most respected figures in the infrastructure sector, Mark brings nearly four decades of experience to the role. This includes an excellent track record in the successful delivery of complex rail systems – track alignment, trains, electrical, signaling and communications – most notably as CEO of Crossrail.

Mark will join HS2 Ltd at a crucial time in the programme’s delivery, as civil engineering works along the route from London to the West Midlands reach their peak and the focus shifts to building the infrastructure to operate the railway.

This new appointment is part of a series of reforms across the project, aimed at reducing costs and delivering the scheme safely and on time, in line with recent scope changes announced by the government.

Mark was selected following a rigorous recruitment process overseen by the HS2 Ltd Board and led by Sir Jon Thompson, Executive Chairman, with support from Mark Harper, the Secretary of State for Transport.

said Mark Harper:

“HS2 between Euston and the West Midlands will provide faster connections for millions of passengers, grow the economy, revitalize communities and create tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country.

“Mark Wild brings a wealth of experience, including leading the successful delivery of Crossrail, and I am confident he will control costs and provide strong oversight of this project to bring rail travel to generations long to transform.”

Sir Jon Thompson said:

“Mark joins HS2 Ltd with unrivaled experience and a track record of successful delivery, making him confident he will deliver this hugely complex program – providing more reliable and faster services to rail users , while boosting the economies of the West Midlands and London. It is a mark of the scale and ambition of HS2 that we can attract a leader of his calibre.”

Mark’s exact start date is yet to be confirmed. His arrival follows the departure of Mark Thurston, who led HS2 Ltd for six and a half years until the end of September 2023. Sir Jon will continue in his current role as Executive Chairman until Mark’s arrival, when he will resume his previous role. role as chairman of HS2 Ltd.

Mark’s extensive experience includes key roles in the transport and utilities sectors, most recently as CEO of SGN, the gas distribution network covering Scotland and the South East of England.

He was previously CEO of Crossrail for almost four years, leading the project from a crucial point in construction to its successful opening. Crossrail’s size is eclipsed only by HS2 as the largest all-new railway line in Britain. Crossrail, now known as the Elizabeth Line, has been a stunning success since its launch, having completed more than 300 million passenger journeys since opening in May 2022.

Before joining Crossrail, Mark was Managing Director of London Underground and previously Chief Executive of Public Transport Victoria, the integrated transport authority based in Melbourne, Australia.

Mark Wild OBE said:

“I look forward to leading HS2 as it progresses from major construction work to the rail system phase and then to the first passenger services. The scale and ambition of HS2 is phenomenal and will deliver far-reaching benefits for Britain through more jobs, economic growth and better travel.”

Once completed, HS2 will enable significantly faster and more reliable journeys between London and the West Midlands, with trains running via existing lines to destinations further north. It will double rail capacity between Britain’s two biggest cities and provide relief to the busiest southern section of the West Coast Main Line, freeing up more space for local and freight services.

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