Kirby to become new HS2 chief executive

Network Rail’s Simon Kirby, the man leading some of Britain’s biggest rail infrastructure projects, has been appointed by HS2 to manage construction of the £42 billion high-speed rail system.

Kirby, whose project CV includes the King’s Cross and Reading Station redevelopment schemes and Thameslink, will join HS2 in June before taking over as chief executive in September.

Announcing Kirby’s appointment, HS2 confirmed that current chief executive Alison Munro would remain on the project, taking up a new role overseeing the passage of the Hybrid Bill through parliament.

Simon Kirby

Simon Kirby

HS2 chairman, David Higgins, said: “As I start my tenure as chairman of this essential project that will free up much needed capacity on our crowded railways, I am extremely pleased that we have secured Simon to run what will be the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world.

“Delivering this project in a way which is not just cost effective, but also delivers its benefits to as much of the country as soon as possible, is a huge engineering project, but Simon has proven throughout his career that he is capable of taking on such a unique challenge.

“I fully realise that the skills he brings to the task are much sought after throughout the world and we are delighted he has agreed to take on the role – and that Alison Munro has agreed  to continue in her role of over-seeing both the parliamentary process and the development of Phase Two.”

Kirby’s replacement at Network Rail will inherit a five-year project portfolio worth £24 billion.

Network Rail’s chairman, Richard Parry-Jones, said: “Simon has been extremely successful in his ten years with the company, delivering a large range of landmark projects all across the country. He leaves behind him a strong organisation that enjoys excellent relationships with our supply chain partners.”We are very grateful for everything he has contributed and wish him the very best in his new role at HS2. Going forward the two organisations will be working closely together and Simon’s appointment will only serve to reinforce that.”