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London Underground boss to take the reins at Crossrail in final year

Crossrail Ltd has announced that current chief executive Simon Wright will stand from his role later this month and be replaced by London Underground’s managing director Mark Wild as the £15.4bn project enters the final stages of completion.

Wild will take over from Wright on 19 November whose “extensive knowledge and experience of delivering major signalling and systems integration projects” is said to be vital for the expected final year.

It comes after last week’s government announcement in which it said it would give a £350m lifeline loan to Crossrail, after it was announced in August that the project would be delayed nine months from its scheduled opening date of December this year.

The incoming boss will return to his role at London Underground once the Elizabeth line has opened through central London. He will initially work alongside Wright who will step down “as planned” this month.

"Mark's extensive knowledge and experience of delivering major signalling and systems integration projects will be vital for the final stages of the project."
Mike Brown, TfL commissioner.

Mike Brown, Transport for London commissioner, has lauded the experience Wild will be bringing on board. “The Elizabeth line is the single most significant addition to London’s transport infrastructure in a generation,” he said. “It is absolutely vital that Crossrail Ltd completes the job of delivering it safely and reliably for London. Mark’s extensive knowledge and experience of delivering major signalling and systems integration projects will be vital for the final stages of the project.”

While Wild is at Crossrail, London Underground director of Network Operations Nigel Holness will step up to the role of managing director. He will take up his previously-announced position of deputy chief executive for Metro Trains Sydney at a later date.

Outgoing chief executive Simon Wright, said: “Everyone involved in the project is fully focused on ensuring the Elizabeth line is completed as quickly as possible. With the construction phase due to come to an end later this year, the major focus for Crossrail will be the integration of the complex railway systems and the start of full-time testing.”

It's been a tricky period for the major London infrastructure scheme with testing problems and design issues plighting development and leading to a revised delivery schedule. Services were due to begin running by the end of the year, but the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood is not set to be opened until autumn 2019.