Former HS2 director to head Westminster restoration

10 October 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson, who has previously held senior roles on both Crossrail and HS2, has been appointed as chief executive of the organisation overseeing the £4bn restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster in London.

Johnson took up her new role in charge of the shadow sponsor body this week. She has previously served as chief of staff on Crossrail between 2010 and 2013 and became corporate sponsorship director of HS2 in 2017.

The shadow sponsor body was established in 2018 to set the scope, budget and timescale of the Restoration and Renewal Programme, and oversee a Delivery Authority with the technical expertise to commission and execute the work.

Johnson will head up the executive team which, together with a sponsor board, will oversee the works.

The news came after Parliament this week passed The Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019 which sets out in law how the work will be carried out under this two-tier governance system. The legislation provides for a six-month transition period, with the governing bodies being set up in the spring of 2020.

Sarah Johnson: “Working on the Restoration and Renewal Programme is a huge honour for me, as it offers the opportunity to help protect one of the most iconic and best-known buildings in the world.

“The sponsor body’s task is immense - to transform the Palace of Westminster into a home fit for the future for our Parliament. I’m looking forward to getting down to business and am excited by the challenges ahead.”


At first glance this would seem a surprising appointment. It would be useful if your piece could explore the choice further with respect to the awful performance of Crossrail and HS2 in budget and timescales, which for all I know Sarah Johnson might well bear much of the responsibility or none at all.

Dan Ash, 10 October 2019

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