Ex-HMRC perm sec Jon Thompson joins HS2 board

Department for Transport says former head of the tax and benefits department “brings strong financial management and experience in leading major projects”
Sir Jon Thompson photographed by Paul Heartfield for CSW

By Jim Dunton

23 Apr 2021

Former HM Revenue and Customs permanent secretary Sir Jon Thompson is to join the board of HS2 Ltd, the Department of Transport-owned company tasked with delivering the nation’s new high-speed rail network.

DfT said Thompson would represent the government’s interests as a non-executive director on the HS2 board and that that his appointment would bring “strong financial management and experience in leading major projects”. Thompson stood down as HMRC perm sec in 2019 and is currently chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council.

HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said Thompson would be an “invaluable asset” to the HS2 board as work progresses on first phase of the project, which will deliver a new link between London and Birmingham by 2033.

“He joins HS2’s board at an exciting time as construction of phase one ramps up and phase 2a has been given the green light to begin – creating thousands of jobs, driving our economic recovery from coronavirus, and delivering on our promise to level up towns and cities across the country,” Stephenson said.

Thompson, who was perm sec at the Ministry of Defence before joining HMRC in 2016, said hoped to “contribute strongly” to delivering HS2 on time and to budget.

HS2 Ltd is currently recruiting its next chairman, following the decision of current chair Allan Cook to stand down from the role in July rather than seek a further three-year term. DfT is offering £200,000 a year for the part-time role.

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