HS2 boss steps down from £405k-a-year role
One of the top bosses at HS2 has left his £400,000-a-year job after five years.
Jim Crawford, the managing director for phase one of the line between London and Birmingham, is understood to have quit the project to pursue other opportunities.
His annual salary in 2018 was reportedly £405,000-a-year, making him the country's seventh highest paid civil servant and the second highest paid staff member at HS2 behind chief executive Mark Thurston.
No official reason has been given for his departure, which comes amid growing concerns over the controversial project's budget.
A review is currently being carried out by HS2 chair Allan Cook to see if it cane be built to its £56 million budget.
And Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson has pledged to review its economic case if he becomes Prime Minister, suggesting he could scrap the whole thing unless the finances are right.
Mr Crawford joined HS2 in 2014 to oversee phase one of the project, which is due to open in 2026. Phase two will pass through Staffordshire.
During his tenure the phase one bill was passed, paving the way for construction on the first section of the line.
On his departure, Mr Thurston said: “We’d like to thank Jim for his tireless dedication to the HS2 programme over the past five years.
"His work has helped us get to the point where we are supporting 9,000 jobs around the country and works well underway on 250 sites from the South East to the West Midlands.
“I look forward to his ongoing support in developing the business case for HS2 before he leaves the business later this year, and wish him well.”
Mr Crawford, a qualified quantity surveyor, previously worked at Network Rail, where he was Thameslink programme director.
Prior to that he worked on large infrastructure projects and as a quantity surveyor for Railtrack and Turner & Townsend.
The Government is under pressure to balance the books on HS2, following the Crossrail debacle, which will be up to two years late and cost £2.8bn more than estimated.
Peers have described HS2's costs as "out of control", while a recent House of Commons briefing said that in 2015 Ministers were aware that the cost of the project had risen to £65bn – information they did not share with the public.
John O'Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Taxpayers have a right to know how much money is being spent on HS2, especially as the case for this vanity project grows weaker by the day."