UK: Sir Jonathan Thompson appointed to the HS2 Ltd Board

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has appointed Sir Jon Thompson as a non-executive director to the High Speed 2 (HS2) Limited Board.

Sir Jon will represent government’s interests on the board, as was recommended by the independent Oakervee Review of HS2.

He brings strong financial management and experience in leading major projects. Sir Jon is currently chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council, and was previously the Permanent Secretary at both the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue and Customs.

This appointment has been made in accordance with the Governance Code for public appointments. It follows that of 3 other non-executive directors to the board last year – Ian King, Elaine Holt and Tom Harris – who were appointed to strengthen oversight and scrutiny of the UK’s largest infrastructure project.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said:

Sir Jon will be an invaluable asset to the board of HS2 Ltd and will strengthen oversight and accountability as this vital project is delivered.

He joins HS2’s board at an exciting time as construction of Phase One ramps up and Phase 2a has been given the green light to begin – creating thousands of jobs, driving our economic recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19), and delivering on our promise to level up towns and cities across the country.

HS2 Ltd Chair Allan Cook said:

I am delighted to announce that Sir Jon will join the HS2 Ltd board in the very near future. His experience at the top of the civil service will be a great addition to our team as the project moves forward.

HS2’s first tunnelling machine is scheduled to start digging under the Chilterns in May, and with Parliament recently giving approval to the next phase extending the line from the West Midlands to Crewe, Jon will join us at a very exciting time for the programme.

Sir Jonathan Thompson said:

I am delighted to have been appointed to the board of HS2, a project in the national interest, and one where hopefully I can contribute strongly to delivering on time and to budget.

The process to appoint a new Chair of HS2 Ltd is now underway after the current Chair, Allan Cook CBE, confirmed his intention to leave the company this summer. The vacancy for Chair of HS2 Ltd has been advertised on the Cabinet Office public appointments website and is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Following the publication of the independent Oakervee Review in February 2020, which recommended proceeding with HS2, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the project would go ahead to deliver better connectivity across the country, greater capacity on the rail network and shorter journey times.

Construction of Phase One of HS2 is underway, and is now supporting over 15,000 jobs and over 500 apprenticeships. In February 2021, the Phase 2a Bill was given Royal Assent, in a historic milestone that will bring the new high-speed railway to the north.


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