New senior appointment for high speed rail company

The company delivering the £56bn HS2 high speed rail line has announced the appointment of a new HR director following the scandal which embroiled the company over redundancy payouts.

The scandal emerged last month when the national spending watchdog revealed evidence of unauthorised redundancy payouts worth almost £2m.

It was announced shortly afterwards that HS2 Ltd Chief Financial Officer, Steve Allen, would leave his role with the company at the end of the financial year.

The payouts were made to staff in London who were unwilling to relocate when the company moved its headquarters to Birmingham.
Following Mr Allen out of the door was former HR director Peter Gregory.

In an attempt to steady the ship, HS2 Ltd has appointed Neil Hayward as new HR director.

He will be a member of the HS2 Ltd executive team and report directly to chief executive, Mark Thurston.

Mr Hayward has more than 20 years’ experience working in large and complex organisations, at the most senior levels, delivering organisational improvements. He has held a number of senior human resources positions in both the private and public sector, including BT, the Ministry of Justice and Serco Group.

Most recently as Group People Director at the Post Office, Mr Hayward was part of the team that looked to restore the company to profit, under public ownership, after years of significant losses.

Mr Thurston said: “I welcome Neil Hayward to HS2 Ltd and am delighted that he is to lead our HR team.

“HS2’s success will come from its people, and Neil’s experience in defining and implementing change at FTSE 100 and 250 companies, and in central government will be extremely valuable as we transition from a development company to one delivering Britain’s new national high speed rail network.”

Mr Hayward added: “HS2 is a transformational infrastructure project that can change the economic geography of the country. That’s a really important mission and it’s hugely exciting to be joining the company now as it moves towards the major construction stages.
“I am really looking forward to being part of the team that will deliver Europe’s biggest infrastructure project which is of national significance for the UK.”

The appointment is with immediate effect.