The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the appointment of three non-executive directors to the board of HS2 Ltd, stating that the move is intended to strengthen oversight and scrutiny of the UK’s largest infrastructure project.
Elaine Holt, Ian King and Tom Harris will take up the roles of infrastructure specialist, government representative and community engagement leader respectively. The DfT says that the three new appointments will “improve the way that HS2 is managed and instil greater discipline of the project”.
Ian King and Elaine Holt have been appointed for three-year terms while Tom Harris has been appointed for an initial one-year term.
The appointments come as the project enters its construction phase and increases its activity and scale along the route and across the business. HS2 has recently awarded £14 billion of contracts and is hiring close to 500 new employees in a range of skills.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “When we gave HS2 the go-ahead, we made a clear commitment to draw a line under past problems and to move forward with a strong grip of the project and a laser-like focus on cost control and transparency.
“The appointments of Elaine Holt, Tom Harris and Ian King to the Board of HS2 Ltd will deliver on this promise and ensure this vital project has the robust leadership it requires as it drives our country’s economic recovery from Covid-19 and delivers better connectivity to level up communities across the North and Midlands.”
Ian King will represent the government’s interests on the HS2 board, bringing with him more than two decades of senior leadership and project delivery experience. He will provide advice on the Government’s approach to issues and will report to the Transport Secretary and HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson.
Elaine Holt joins as a railway and infrastructure specialist, having had experience in executive and non-executive roles in the transport sector, project delivery and railway operations.
Tom Harris, a former Labour MP for Glasgow Cathcart and Glasgow South from 2001 to 2015, will strengthen the company’s focus on community engagement.
HS2 chairman Allan Cook CBE said of the new appointments: “I am looking forward to working with Elaine, Tom and Ian as they join the board of HS2 Ltd.
“The scale and complexity of the next phase of the project – which is already making a vital contribution by supporting thousands of jobs all over the country – requires increased levels of expertise and oversight to further strengthen the excellent experience we have on the Board.
“Elaine, Tom and Ian have a huge wealth of experience in each of their specialist areas. I am certain they will make a valuable contribution to the success of the HS2 project as we progress through the construction phase and ensure that, with the other members of the Board, we meet our commitments to Government and UK taxpayers.”