Transport Secretary, Mark Harper has appointed Keith Smithson and Joanna Davinson as new Non-Executive Directors of the HS2 Ltd Board, strengthening its leadership and expertise to successfully deliver Britain’s most transformative rail project.

The construction of HS2 is already supporting tens of thousands of high-skilled jobs on the project and in the supply chain, and over 1,200 apprenticeships have been created since 2017. Once delivered, it will boost local economies right across the UK, provide a greener alternative to road travel and domestic flights, and leave a skills and innovation legacy for the UK’s future infrastructure projects.

In their new roles, Keith and Joanna will work alongside HS2 Ltd’s Chair, Sir Jonathan Thompson, to provide oversight and accountability for the revolutionary project, ensuring costs are controlled and the project is delivered in the most effective way for taxpayers.

Joanna brings extensive knowledge to the role having previously served as the Executive Director of the Central Digital and Data Office at the Cabinet Office.


Meanwhile, Keith has already held several executive positions at global organisations such as HSBC, Paragon Banking Group and 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, which will positively transform rail travel across the UK for generations to come.”

In addition to the new appointments, Elaine Holt, Deputy Chair, and Ian King, the government’s Special Director on the Board, have been reappointed for a further 4 years. Dame Judith Hackitt and Stephen Hughes have also been reappointed as Non-Executive Directors for a further 3 years.

This follows Mel Ewell and Roger Mountford recently stepping down from their non-executive roles having completed full terms on the board.

Sir Jonathan Thompson, HS2 Ltd Chair, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Joanna and Keith to the Board. They further strengthen the expertise and leadership we have on the HS2 Board at a critical time for the programme as we meet the challenges of inflation and delivering the programme in the most cost-effective way.

They will help ensure HS2 provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionise the British rail network – providing vital additional capacity, better connect our towns and cities in the midlands and the north, and fuel economic growth and job creation across the country.”