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HS2 begins hunt to replace head honcho Higgins

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High Speed 2 (HS2) has begun its search to find a new chairman to take over from David Higgins, who is set to step down later this year following four years on the project

The former chief executive of both Network Rail and the Olympic Delivery Authority will be replaced when his second term as chairman comes to an end in the latter half of the year.

An HS2 spokesperson told the AJ’s sister title Construction News: ’It was always envisaged that David would leave HS2 after his second term as chairman ends. With Mark Thurston having been in place as our chief executive for nearly a year, now is the right time to start the search for a replacement.

‘After serving two terms as chairman of HS2, setting a clear vision for what HS2 can achieve for the whole country, seeing phase one become an Act of Parliament and the route north of Birmingham clearly defined, David will be leaving HS2 in a very strong position.’

Higgins first joined as chairman in 2014 from his role leading Network Rail and has seen the project through Royal Assent as well as the procurement of main civils work for phase one of the line.

His leadership came under the spotlight last year after a conflict of interest was found during the procurement of the £170 million phase two. This led to engineer CH2M pulling out of the contract.

Higgins, who is also chairman of Gatwick Airport, has led on a number of major construction projects in the UK, most notably as the chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority between 2006 and 2011.

Last week HS2 announced that Lendlease had won the bid to become the master developer for the huge £4 billion development above the new station at Euston, a scheme that will be designed by AHMM, BIG, Grimshaw, Asif Khan and Haworth Tompkins. 

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