Mark Thurston

  • Visting Professor of Complex Project and Programme Leadership

As the CEO of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, Mark has the privilege and ultimate responsibility for leading the company that has been charged with delivering a new high-speed railway that will connect the major cities of the UK.

The vision is for HS2 to be a catalyst for growth across Britain, become the backbone of Britain’s rail network and contribute to a ‘green’ transport system that helps reduce carbon. It will better connect the country’s major cities and economic hubs and help deliver a stronger, more balanced economy, better able to compete on the global stage.

HS2 Ltd began operations in January 2009. The company currently employs around 1800 people, with the majority of staff working at its headquarters in Birmingham; currently, some 17,000 people are working on the programme across the UK.

Mark joined HS2 Ltd in March 2017; he has over 30 years of experience including leadership roles in engineering, project and programme management and business operations. Having worked for client, consulting and delivery bodies, Mark has a successful track record across a mix of major organisations and investment programmes, having worked on both the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail.

He was previously the European MD of the engineering and projects company CH2M and started his career as a technician apprentice at London Underground.


Mark Thurston originally trained as an electrical and electronics engineer, specialising in telecommunications.  He attained a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in 1986 as part of a 4-year apprenticeship and has subsequently received a Master’s degree in Engineering (Project) Management from the Civil Engineering school at Loughborough University.

Academic associations

Mark is a Visiting Professor at both the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction at UCL and the School of Complex Project and Programme Leadership at Loughborough University. He has received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology from the University of East London (UEL) and Loughborough University.

Professional affiliations

Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (FAPM) and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (FICE). Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET) and Incorporated Engineer (IEng).