Crossrail Chief Executive Resigns

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Rob Holden has resigned from Crossrail, and will leave later this year.

Holden will be a big loss for Crossrail, as arguably he’s currently the man in Britain with the most experience in leading large-scale rail/tunnelling projects – it was Holden who oversaw the delivery of HS1 on time and to budget. As a result of his experience he was also a target for the top job at Network Rail back in 2008, but ultimately elected to take the Chief Executive position at Crossrail.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Holden has indicated that his main motivation for leaving is to take the opportunity to have more non-executive jobs before he feels he has become too old. Crossrail will take eight years to complete, by which point he will be approaching retirement and feels such opportunities may be closed to him. It’s a fair point, and with the Crossrail project now fully funded and heavy work just starting to kick in, this is arguably the best time to leave if Holden had doubts about staying to the end.

Nonetheless, as always, various sources have suggested that other factors may have motivated his decision (at least in part) as well. According to ITV news, Holden had expressed some frustrations at Crossrail’s project governance, and there have also been rumours (which again appeared up in the Daily Mail’s coverage of his resignation) that Holden and Terry Morgan, Crossrail’s Chairman, have not always seen eye-to-eye.

Whatever the reasons, Crossrail will obviously continue to move forward. Finding another executive with Holden’s experience though, will be a tricky task.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.