Scotland Gas Networks boss appointed CEO of HS2

Mark Wild

Mark Wild, CEO of Scotland Gas Networks and Southern Gas Networks (SGN), has been appointed CEO of high-speed railway HS2, Europe’s biggest infrastructure project.

“As one of the most respected figures in the infrastructure industry, Mark brings almost four decades-worth of experience to the role,” said HS2.

“This includes an outstanding record in the successful delivery of complex railway systems – the alignment of tracks, train, power, signalling and communications – most notably as the CEO of Crossrail.”

Wild will join HS2 Ltd at a pivotal moment in the programme’s delivery, with civil engineering works along the route from London to the West Midlands reaching their peak and focus shifting to building the infrastructure to operate the railway.

Wild was selected following a recruitment process overseen by the HS2 Ltd board and led by executive chair Jon Thompson, with backing from Mark Harper, UK Secretary of State for Transport.

Harper said: “HS2 between Euston and the West Midlands will provide faster connections for millions of passengers, grow the economy, regenerate communities and create tens of thousands of high skilled jobs across the country.

“Mark Wild brings a wealth of experience with him, including leading the successful delivery of Crossrail, and I have every confidence he will grip costs and robustly oversee this project to transform rail travel for generations.”

Thompson said: “Mark joins HS2 Ltd with unrivalled experience and a track record of successful delivery, giving confidence that he will drive this hugely complex programme to completion – providing more reliable and faster services for rail users, while boosting the economies of the West Midlands and London.

“It is a mark of the scale and ambition of HS2 that we can attract a leader of his calibre.”

SGN chairman Nick Salmon said: “We are immensely grateful to Mark for his energy, strategic vision and leadership.

“SGN is a key part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, playing an important role as we seek to maintain a secure and resilient energy system which underpins a net zero economy.

“SGN is in a strong position with a clear business strategy and key appointments made to the senior management team over the past two years.

“The organisation is in advanced preparations for the next price control and remains a leader in developing clean energy projects to repurpose the UK gas network.

“Mark will continue to lead the business for up to 12 months or until his successor is appointed and he will ensure that SGN delivers excellent service to our customers through a safe and reliable network.

“The search for SGN’s next CEO is already underway.”

Wild’s start date at HS2 has yet to be confirmed. His arrival follows the departure of Mark Thurston who led HS2 Ltd for six-and-a-half years up to the end of September, 2023. Thompson will continue in his current position as executive chair until Wild’s arrival, when he will resumes his previous role as HS2 Ltd chair.

“Mark’s extensive experience includes key roles in the transport and utilities industries, most recently as CEO of SGN, the gas distribution network covering Scotland and the south east of England,” said HS2.

“He was previously CEO of Crossrail for almost four years, leading the project from a crucial juncture in its construction through to successful opening.

“The scale of Crossrail is eclipsed only by HS2 as the largest wholly new railway in the UK. Now known as the Elizabeth Line, Crossrail has been a staggering success since its launch, clocking up more than 300 million passenger journeys since opening in May 2022.

“Prior to Crossrail, Mark was Managing Director of the London Underground and was previously Chief Executive of Public Transport Victoria, the integrated transport authority based in Melbourne, Australia.”

Wild said: “I look forward to leading HS2 as it progresses from major construction works to its rail systems phase and beyond to the first passenger services.

“The scale and ambition of HS2 is phenomenal and will deliver wide-reaching benefits for the UK through more jobs, economic growth and better journeys.”