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Allan Cook, chairman of HS2 has tendered his resignation and will not seek a second term in the role.
Cook has written a letter to HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson to confirm his decision, meaning that he will leave the role at the end of July.
Cook joined HS2 in December 2018 and had been due to continue until December 2021.
He said: “In my time at HS2, I feel privileged to have provided more certainty on schedule and cost, to have helped embed a strong environmental and sustainability focus, establish a culture of openness and transparency and build a diverse and talented board of directors. A project of this scale and ambition will encounter challenges, but it is vital we understand the prize: a low carbon railway for Britain that will make us a better connected and fairer country, bringing careers, jobs and prosperity to the towns and cities that need it most.
“I want to thank my board and the executive for their dedicated hard work and support. In particular, I would like to thank Mark Thurston as CEO for his outstanding leadership of the project. I have a number of months before my departure but, with tunnelling due to start in the summer and as we enter a new phase of the project, the Department will start the search for my successor who can give their full focus to the future momentum of the project as the railway expands further north and is, as I expect, delivered in full.”
Stephenson added: “Allan’s work has helped foster a culture of greater openness and transparency at a time when it was needed most at the company, and I am thankful for his tireless efforts as chairman.
“His work has ensured that the construction of this critical project is now underway, creating tens of thousands of skilled jobs, kickstarting our economy and helping us build back better from covid-19.”