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Ex-Atkins boss appointed HS2 chair after Morgan walks

Allan cook

Former Atkins chair Allan Cook has been appointed as the new chair of HS2 Ltd following the resignation of Sir Terry Morgan.

News of Cook’s appointment follows Morgan resigning from both his chair positions at HS2 Ltd and Crossrail.

A Crossrail successor will be announced in due course, the Department for Transport has said.

Cook’s experience includes serving as co-chair of the Defence Growth Partnership, chair of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, as a director of JF Lehman and Company, and as a former lead non-executive director for the then-Department of Business, Innovation and Skills under the coalition government. 

He also previously chaired Atkins, Leonardo UK, and acted as deputy chair of Marshalls Group. In addition, Cook served as the chief executive of Cobham Plc from 2000 to 2009.

In response to his appointment, Cook said: ”HS2 has made impressive progress in the past 18 months – with 7,000 highly skilled people currently working on this project. The regeneration of the West Midlands and Curzon Street in Birmingham are now well underway.

“I am looking forward to working with Mark Thurston, his team and our partners, getting ready for the next few years when we will be making significant progress on building HS2 for the future.”

Last week Sir Terry Morgan claimed that he expected the delays to Crossrail would cost him his job as chairman of both bodies.

In response to his resignation, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) Darren Caplan said: “I and the Railway Industry Association would like to thank Sir Terry for his hard work and commitment to improving the UK’s railway network both as Chair of Crossrail and HS2 Ltd.

“Sir Terry has always been an avid supporter of the rail supply community and has worked hard to ensure we have a rail system ready to meet the challenges of the future. He is also an enthusiastic promoter of rail as a career choice for young people, and spent much of his time helping to get a new, young and diverse workforce into the industry.”

Morgan, who had been chair of Crossrail’s delivery body Crossrail Ltd since 2009, heard late on Friday that his job was on the line. He took on the role of HS2 Ltd chair at the beginning of August.

On Saturday the Financial Times reported that Morgan was lined up to be “sacked” from HS2. Following the publication of the article, Morgan undertook a phone interview with the BBC.

At the end of August Crossrail confirmed that Elizabeth Line services between Paddington in central London and Abbey Wood in the south east of the capital will not open until autumn 2019. The line was originally scheduled to open this December. In October, the government provided an additional £350M to the London Mayor’s Office to deliver Crossrail. 

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