Chair, HS2 Ltd

Body: HS2 Ltd
Appointing Department: Department for Transport
Sector: Transport
Location: UK (HQ in Birmingham)
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Major Projects
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £200,000 per year
Time Requirements: 2 days per week

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    April 2022

  • Final Interview Date

    May/June 2022

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

HS2 is a once-in-a-generation investment in the UK’s transport infrastructure. As Chair of HS2 Ltd, exceptional leadership and brilliant communication must go hand-in-hand with a proven track record in delivery, to help unlock the multiple benefits of HS2 and the great potential of the many people working on this project. The right candidate will have the opportunity to not only lead a project of unprecedented size – but to inspire others and maintain confidence in the programme as we embrace lasting change for this country.

From boosting productivity to driving decarbonisation, HS2 remains at the forefront of the Government’s plans to fire up economic growth. Recent announcements about Phase 2 and Euston have cemented this. The transformational potential of this project is unparalleled. By creating thousands of apprenticeships and tens of thousands of skilled jobs, HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better from the pandemic, providing certainty at a time when people need it the most. Ultimately, this railway – and its integration in the national transport network – will bring our biggest cities closer together, providing a low-carbon alternative for transport users.

The Chair is responsible for leading the HS2 Ltd Board and ensuring its effective operation on behalf of the Secretary of State as sole shareholder. The Chair will focus the Board’s attention and time on the Shareholder and Sponsor’s priorities, directing and leading the other members of the Board and its Sub-Committees accordingly.

The Chair provides a critical conduit between HS2 Ltd and the Department and provides a vital sounding board for Ministers, the Department’s Principal Accounting Officer, Senior Responsible Officer and the HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Officer. The Chair should build effective relationships and networks with key stakeholders, the supply chain, and Ministers to successfully communicate the vision for the HS2 Programme and HS2 Ltd’s work. Formal communications between HS2 Ltd’s Board and the HS2 Minister should normally be through the Chair.

The Chair will lead the Board to ensure that the Secretary of State’s objectives for the HS2 programme, including delivery to cost and schedule, are delivered. In addition, the Chair has the following leadership responsibilities, as described in the HS2 Framework Document:

  • ensuring, including by monitoring and engaging with appropriate governance arrangements, that HS2 Ltd’s affairs are conducted with probity;
  • ensuring that policies and actions support the Secretary of State’s wider strategic policies and where appropriate, these policies and actions should be clearly communicated and disseminated throughout HS2 Ltd;
  • ensuring that the Board, in reaching decisions, takes proper account of guidance provided by the Responsible Minister or the Department;
  • appointing the Chief Executive (subject to the approval of the Shareholder);
  • promoting the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources;
  • delivering high standards of regularity and propriety; and
  • providing the public face of HS2 Ltd and its work.

Person Specification

The Chair of HS2 Ltd is a challenging and unique role. This requires a world-class, experienced leader. The successful candidate will be supported by a strong and capable Board and Deputy Chair, who will provide oversight of the programme. We are looking for a leader who is:

  1. Experienced in providing strategic leadership to deliver in a complex setting – working with leaders from across government and other sectors to harness the transformational impact of the programme to maximise the wider benefits.
  2. Confident leading an effective and diverse organisation to maintain high performance, manage risks, and deliver to cost and schedule, whilst also maintaining an unwavering commitment to safety. Ideally, experienced in working with an experienced senior leadership team to offer support and challenge to effectively hold them to account for delivery.
  3. Politically astute both in managing relationships and in building support amongst a range of diverse stakeholders. Able to build the confidence of, and provide assurance to, Government and Ministers in the delivery of a transformational infrastructure programme. Encourage a culture of collaboration, openness and transparency.
  4. Has excellent stakeholder engagement and communication skills. Proven ability to build and maintain complex partnerships, bring stakeholders together and build consensus around high priority interventions. Adept with media handling, comfortable in the media spotlight and an effective national advocate for the strategic case for HS2.

We are looking for a Chair to complement the skills, expertise and experience of the Deputy Chair and wider Board (which spans transport, infrastructure, construction and project delivery sectors). Whilst experience in those fields will be relevant for this role, we are also very open and keen to receive applications from experienced leaders from other sectors.

It is vital for the programme that HS2 Ltd has a Chair who can offer a blend of these qualities and meet the majority of this criteria to realise the full benefits that HS2 Ltd will unlock, in particular across levelling-up, skills and jobs, helping to grow the economic prosperity of communities, and driving decarbonisation.

 Candidates suitability for the role will be assessed against criteria i-iv above.

HS2 Chair - Korn Ferry Position Specification - Mar 2022
Monitoring and Supporting Evidence form
Return to Search