Simon Kirby will follow Sir David Higgins in joining HS2 Ltd from Network Rail in June, before taking over full-time as CEO Construction in September, years before construction is due to start. Kirby will be earning £750,000 per year, which is six times what the current CEO earns, over five times the salary of the Prime Minister and twenty-eight times the average UK wage of £27,000. The fact Kirby will not start at HS2 Ltd until June, means he can collect on a £300,000 ‘loyalty’ bonus he is due to get from Network Rail in April. That bonus package, which was revealed just over a year ago, was intended to prevent Kirby and other executives from leaving Network Rail.
Current HS2 Ltd CEO, Alison Munro, will become Managing Director of Development in September, at which time she is expected to receive a raise on her current £115,000 salary. While Kirby worked under Higgins, profits at Network Rail went down, whilst their debts went up, which Higgins defended this week by saying; “Every major infrastructure company in the world is most efficiently funded by debt… These infrastructure projects are suited to debt because of the long term earning stream.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:
“We have always said HS2 is all about jobs for the boys, and the bosses seem to be running their own gravy train. Three Quarters of Million pounds is a grotesque salary for anyone in the public sector be getting, and can anyone really agree that the man in charge of putting together a giant train set is over three times the value of the person in charge of the NHS? Kirby is due to get a bonus for ‘loyalty’ to Network Rail just a month before he leaves, so if he has any integrity he will not accept it.”
“HS2 has proved from start to finish that it is a financial black hole, and those in charge of it don’t care, they just all want a slice of the action. There are an ever increasing number of snouts in an ever expanding tax-payer funded trough.”