Mark Thurston has been in post since 2017

HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston has said he is leaving the project at the end of September after more than six years in the role.

The 56-year-old succeeded Simon Kirby in 2017 who himself has replaced Alison Munro who was in place from 2009 to 2014.

The HS2 chair, Sir Jon Thompson, will take over as executive chair for an interim period while a new chief executive is recruited.


Source: HS2 Ltd

Mark Thurston (left) pictured with transport secretary Mark Harper earlier this year

Thurston said “The next 18-24 months will see the project move into an exciting new stage. I have agreed with the Board that someone else should lead the organisation and programme through what will be another defining period for HS2.”

He joined from consultant CH2M where he ran the European business and worked on Crossrail.

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Transport secretary Mark Harper : “I’d like to thank Mark Thurston for his work over the last six years progressing Britain’s most transformative rail project. As well as successfully overseeing the start of construction, he has ensured HS2 has created tens of thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the country.

“As HS2 enters its next phase, the Government remains committed to unlocking all the benefits of this flagship infrastructure scheme – increasing rail capacity, connecting communities and growing the economy.”

Thurston’s departure comes as major work is taking place at more than 350 sites and the first phase of the project between London and Birmingham is at peak construction.

But the scheme to build a new station at Euston was mothballed by Harper earlier this year.

Last week MPs on the Public Accounts Committee said mothballing HS2 work at Euston shows the government “does not know what it is trying to achieve” with the station.

The job was put on ice in March because of concerns about spiralling costs which stand at £4.8bn from a budget of £2.6bn.