HS2 ring the changes as Wolstenholme departs and Hackitt comes on board

Andrew Wolstenholme

Former Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme is no longer a non-executive director on the HS2 board, despite being appointed to the position little more than 10 months ago.

Since announcing his departure from Crossrail last March, the project has been unable to meet its December 2018 deadline and costs have spiralled at least £2.8bn over budget.

After exiting, Wolstenholme took up a role at the UK’s biggest defence contractor BAE Systems in which he heads up the company’s submarine and naval ships programmes.

In attempts to bring on more expertise and replace Wolstenholme, it’s been announced that Dame Judith Hackitt and Stephen Hughes have joined the HS2 board as non-executive directors.

Hackitt most recently has led a review of building regulations to address issues raised by the Grenfell Tower fire, while Hughes is a former Birmingham City Council chief executive who served for a decade.

The Department for Transport say both candidates bring with them a strong set of experience to help guide the construction of the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

Commenting on the appointments, transport secretary Chris Grayling, said: “Their collective wisdom and expertise will be invaluable in overseeing the construction of one of the UK’s most important infrastructure projects, ensuring we deliver on the opportunity of huge economic growth for the north and Midlands and improved journeys for passengers right across the country.”

Hackitt, who is also chair of manufacturing trade body Make UK and holds non-executive positions at Made Smarter Commission, Imperial College Court, City & Guilds Group and High Value Manufacturing Catapult, said she was looking forward to joining and being part of the national project.

“Modernisation of our national infrastructure is vitally important for future growth and prosperity and the development and delivery of HS2 is an essential part of that,” Hackitt added.

Commenting on his appointment, Hughes said: “It is not just about solving the problems with rail capacity, but it will also deliver significant regenerative benefits to our major cities and the regional economies they support. I am pleased to be able to help deliver those benefits in whatever ways I can.”

The DfT has also announced the re-appointment of two existing non-executive directors – Ed Smith and Roger Mountford – for a further three years.

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