Alistair Kirk has been appointed as programme and strategy director of HS2 and will be responsible for the integration, planning and control of the programme.
The Post understands he will earn £400,000 a year in the role, which will be based in Two Snowill in Birmingham city centre, and is expected to be the first of up to 30 well-paid executives brought in to drive both phases of the scheme.
Mr Kirk joins from EC Harris, which is part of ARCADIS, one of the leading global transportation consultancies, where he led its infrastructure business in the Middle East.
While there, he helped to design a new transportation system in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
HS2 chief executive Simon Kirby said: "Alistair joins us at an important time for HS2 as we continue the progress from development to delivery.
"Putting in place the right systems, controls and rigours in our planning is essential to ensure that we build HS2 on time and on budget.
"Alistair has an excellent track record across the defence and rail sectors. Moreover, his Middle East experience, where transportation is being heavily invested in to stimulate growth and act as a catalyst for change, will also be particularly relevant to helping ensure we deliver the wider benefits of the HS2 Programme."
Mr Kirk added: "The opportunity to help build on the platform for success of such a strategically important programme as HS2 is huge professional incentive for me.
"Moreover, HS2 will provide similar opportunities for a host of other engineering and programme management staff over the coming years.
"HS2 - among other major projects - will be a programme the UK transportation industry will be rightly proud of."
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