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New Crossrail boss should be engineering figure, says Holden

The new Crossrail boss should come from an engineering background rather than project management, outgoing chief executive Rob Holden has said of his future successor.

Holden told the London Assembly Transport Committee today that “skillsets [of the chief executive] will change and evolve” as the £14.5bn mega-rail scheme shifts through different phases and that the job will be different as it moves into the heavy construction stage.

“The skill set needs to be less managerial and more engineering,” he said before singling out Crossrail finance director David Allen and programme director Andy Mitchell - last week picked as the engineers’ favourite to take over from Holden - as potential beneficiaries from such a boss.

“People like Andy Mitchell and David Allen the two executive directors I’m leaving behind will benefit from somebody different - somebody who has those skill sets to help them in their career ambitions and to help them in delivering Crossrail.

“My engineering colleagues will benefit from a person who can talk more engineering talk,” he added.

Mitchell was clear favourite after NCE canvassed engineers following Holden’s surprise decision to quit last month.

He polled more than 40% of the vote, more than twice that of second favourite, ex-Network Rail chief executive and current Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chairman John Armitt.

More recent ex-Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher is running third with 15% of the vote, narrowly ahead of CLM programme director Ian Galloway on 14%. Galloway is currently leading the delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Park.

ODA director of construction Howard Shiplee and Tube Lines chief executive Andie Harper made less of an impression languishing in fifth and sixth place.

Readers' comments (1)

  • One imagines those responsible for appointing Holden's successor are not in the least interested in silly X Factor style voting in NCE. Please stick to reporting the news.

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