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Ex-Heathrow exec to lead new TfL major projects arm

Exclusive: The former executive head of procurement at Heathrow Airport has left to lead Transport for London’s new major projects division. 

Ian Ballentine, who headed up Heathrow’s procurement division for four-and-a-half years, left the company at the end of last month to join consultant Turner & Townsend.  

His first role at the firm has seen him immediately seconded to TfL as the transport body’s interim director for its new major projects team.

As part of TfL’s plans to cut costs and drive efficiencies, it is creating a new major projects division to bring together up to 14 of its major project teams under one centralised body. 

The new body’s projects will include the Northern line extension, Silvertown Tunnel, the Barking Riverside railway extension and the Four Lines modernisation.

Under the current system, each TfL major project is run by its own individual project team. But the organisation aims to bring together all teams under a new directorate in the coming months with the aim of reducing overheads.

TfL said further details of how the major projects team would work would be revealed in due course.

During his time at Heathrow, Mr Ballentine helped lead commercial strategy and oversaw financial planning for the airport’s £16bn expansion programme.

Before that he worked as programme director at Network Rail where he led the transformation of the organisation’s Infrastructure Projects division betwen 2009 and 2011.

The changes to IP, Network Rail’s delivery arm, over this two-year period led to cost savings of more than £3bn.

The news of his appointment comes as TfL attempts to cut costs following mayor Sadiq Khan’s manifesto pledge to freeze fares on services until 2021.

It is estimated that the fare freeze will cost TfL £640m a year in lost revenue over the next four years.

Last December, Mr Khan revealed that he was hoping to save £2bn through a new operating model that reduced management layers and merged the organisation’s engineering arms.

The mayor also plans to cut £800m a year from TfL’s budget through a reorganisation of the transport body’s operations and cutting 49 senior managers. 

Mr Khan has pledged to deliver a number of major enhancement projects despite the fare freeze, including installing new signalling systems on the Metropolitan, Hammersmith, DLR and District and Circle lines, as well as station upgrades at Victoria, Bond Street, Finsbury Park, Camden and Holborn.

A TfL spokeswoman said Mr Ballentine will support the body in “creating a new directorate to deliver TfL’s biggest capital projects”. 

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