Balfour Beatty director Andrew Wolstenholme has been backed as the right person to lead the £15.9 billion Crossrail scheme through its critical construction phase.
Mr Wolstenholme, currently director of innovation and strategic capability at Balfour Beatty, will become Crossrail chief executive in September 2011. He will succeed Rob Holden, who is stepping down in mid-July.
Mr Wolstenholme is highly regarded in the industry. He was project director for the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5 and authored the 2009 report Never Waste a Good Crisis, which measured progress since Sir John Egan’s Rethinking Construction
a decade earlier.
Greenwich and Woolwich MP and former construction minister Nick Raynsford said ensuring the project remained on time and on budget was a huge job.
“I have known Andrew for many years and hold him in high regard. I am delighted he is taking on the job,” said Mr Raynsford.
“[Crossrail] is one of the biggest pieces of infrastructure being built in this country, and there are a large number of interested
parties because of its complicated funding package.
“Communicating well with the Department for Transport, Transport for London and various private investors, while at the same time ensuring the project stays on time and to budget, needs someone with Andrew’s skills.”
With the line-up of contractors carrying out tunnelling work on Crossrail completed last month, attention has turned to procurement for station works.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association welcomed Mr Wolstenholme’s appointment as the project prepared to enter its main construction phase.
“He is a savvy choice to lead Crossrail through a very important stage,” said a spokesman. “A background of delivery is what is important right now, and his experience of managing major infrastructure projects makes him exactly the right man for the job.”
Stephen Wells, executive director for strategy and new business development at URS Scott Wilson, added that Mr Wolstenholme was “well understood and respected” by those working on Crossrail because of his track record of working on nationally significant projects.
URS Scott Wilson is designing Farringdon station and the tunnel entrance to Pudding Mill lane station for Crossrail, as well as working for Network Rail on the overground section of the scheme.
In addition to overseeing the delivery of the £4.3bn Heathrow Terminal 5 as BAA’s programme director, Mr Wolstenholme led the construction of the Heathrow Express rail link for the airports operator.
His work reviewing Rethinking Construction in 2009 found the industry had failed to learn the lessons from Sir John’s report and that UK firms risked losing out to foreign contractors unless they became more efficient.