Geoff French appointed chair at HS2 bidder Align

Former ACE chairman and former president of both ICE and FIDIC, Geoff French CBE, has been apppointed chairman of the Align Joint Venture.

Align, which comprises Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and Volker Fitzpatrick, is one of the principal consortia currently bidding for a share of around £10bn of contracts for Phase One of HS2. Appointment of such a respected and well-liked industry figure will help Align to promote its capabilities in collaborative working, skills and apprenticeship programming and stakeholder and community relationship building, the joint venture said.

French, who is currently chair of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, was also chair of Scott Wilson before successive takeovers led him to take up executive positions with URS then AECOM. Commenting on his appointment, French said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity, through Align, to work with some of the leading and most future-minded contractors in the market, and mostly to be part of a consortium whose highest priority is to leave a lasting legacy for Britain’s future”.

The Align Joint Venture is bidding for the maximum possible four packages of construction for HS2 Phase One. The JV has been shortlisted for the S2 contract for the Northolt Tunnels, worth £850m-£1.4bn, plus C1 Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct (£800-£1.3bn), C2 Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley (£800-£1.3bn) and C3 Brackley to Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel Portal (£600-£900m).

Speaking of Geoff French’s appointment, Bouygues Travaux Publics' UK managing director, Vincent Avrillon, said; “Align welcomes a well-known and immensely valued industry figure, but also a great man who has an in-depth understanding of collaborative working along with a clear articulation of our vision of a legacy for future generations”.