Two new HS2 directors will ‘robustly grip costs’–Minister

Transport secretary Mark Harper has appointed Keith Smithson and Joanna Davinson as new non-executive directors of HS2 Ltd.

The Department for Transport said Keith and Joanna will work alongside HS2 Ltd’s chair Sir Jonathan Thompson, to ‘provide oversight and accountability’ and ‘ensuring costs are controlled’ and the project completed ‘in the most effective way for taxpayers’. HS2 continues to be the focus of speculation about the future of London Euston as the city centre terminus. Work on the site has been paused for two years while the costs of building onwards from Old Oak Common are reviewed.

Joanna Davinson is a civil servant who has served as the executive director of the Central Digital and Data Office at the Cabinet Office, while Keith Smithson comes from the financial sector. He has already held several executive positions at organisations like HSBC, Paragon Banking Group and accountants KPMG. 

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: ‘I’m delighted to make these updates to the board today and welcome Joanna and Keith to the team.

‘They bring with them a wealth of experience and I’m confident the right people are in place to robustly grip costs, hold HS2 Ltd to account and drive forward this revolutionary project.’

Deputy chair Elaine Holt and the government’s special director Ian King have been reappointed for a further four years. Dame Judith Hackitt and Stephen Hughes have also been reappointed as non-executive directors for a further three years. Mel Ewell and Roger Mountford left the Board recently as non-executive directors having completed full terms on the HS2 board.

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