Simon Kirby is to follow his former boss Sir David Higgins from Network Rail to High Speed 2 to become its chief executive – construction.
Mr Kirby, currently managing director for infrastructure projects at Network Rail, will join HS2 in June and become chief executive in September.
The move follows Sir David’s departure from Network Rail, where he was chief executive, to become chairman of HS2.
Announcing Mr Kirby’s appointment, Sir David 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.”
Current HS2 chief executive Alison Munro will continue in her role until September, when she will become managing director of development to oversee the passage of the hybrid bill through parliament and the development of phase two of the project.
Sir David praised Mr Kirby’s skills and experience overseeing the delivery of £25bn of investment at Network Rail.
A statement from HS2 also highlighted Mr Kirby’s role in “transforming Network Rail’s relationship with its key suppliers”.
Sir David added: “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 overseeing both the parliamentary process and the development of phase two.
“HS2 has the potential to re-balance the UK economy, easing pressure in the South, and opening up the possibility of growth in the North. We are fortunate to be able to call on the skills and commitment of both Simon and Alison to make that potential a reality.”
Mr Kirby is on of the judging panel for the 2014 Construction News Awards.
To enter the Construction News Awards, click here.