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HS2 chief quits for Rolls-Royce

HS2 High Speed Rail

HS2 Ltd chief executive Simon Kirby is set to join Rolls-Royce as chief operating officer.

Kirby joined HS2 Ltd – the company responsible for planning and delivery of the UK’s new High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network – in May 2014. He was previously on the Network Rail board as managing director of its Infrastructure Projects business.

Kirby will join Rolls-Royce in the coming months, reporting to chief executive Warren East. HS2 Ltd will now start the process of appointing a successor.

“I am delighted for both Simon and Rolls Royce that he has been appointed to this position. Whilst naturally we will miss his experience and leadership, I also recognise that he is joining a truly great, global company in an industry in which he has previously worked,” commented HS2 chairman David Higgins.

“In his two and half years with the company Simon has used his vast experience to recruit and shape a world class team which over the coming years and decades will turn HS2 into a reality that will be of lasting benefit to this country.

“That team will continue that process as we start and complete the process of finding Simon’s successor.”

Kirby added: “HS2 is not just a highly ambitious project, but also one which will leave a lasting legacy for Britain. It has been, therefore, a huge honour to have been its chief executive and to have been involved in creating a leadership team made up of the best talents from this country and elsewhere. I have absolute confidence in their ability to deliver the project and, in doing so, to help transform the way we do things in this country.”

In a statement, Rolls-Royce said Kirby’s new role had been created to drive operational and financial performance across the business.

“We are doubling our production of large civil aircraft engines and substantially growing our nuclear division while at the same time driving a transformation programme that will make us a more resilient and cash generative business,” said East.

“Achieving operational excellence across the group is essential and Simon has a critical role to play. I am looking forward to working closely with him.”

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