HS1 Ltd appoints new CFO

HS1 Ltd has today announced the appointment of Virginie Merle as the company’s new CFO as it continues the growth of the UK’s only high-speed and international rail line.

Virginie, who has been the UK, Middle East and India CFO for Keolis over the last few years, will take up her role at HS1 in September 2024, and replace Claire Howling, interim CFO at HS1. Claire will stay with the company in a new Finance Director role.

The appointment comes at an exciting time for HS1 as international rail travel from the UK is set to grow, and planning for enhancements to meet long term growth at St. Pancras International is underway.

The HS1 line, which runs from London to the Channel Tunnel, has the capacity to run up to 50% more cross-Channel services. HS1 aims to unlock this capacity which will come with a host of economic and sustainability benefits.

Virginie, a dual French and British citizen, steps into the role with more than 20 years of finance experience. The majority of this time has been in the transport sector, including senior roles at French transport giants Keolis and Transdev, as well as UK rail industry experience with Board positions at Govia Thameslink Railway, Nottingham Trams, Keolis Amey Metrolink and Keolis Amey Docklands. She joins HS1 with a track record of leading finance, procurement, legal, compliance, cyber security and IT teams, as well as stakeholder management.

HS1 holds the concession from the UK Government to run the High Speed 1 line between St Pancras International and the Channel Tunnel.

Robert Sinclair, CEO of HS1 Ltd, said: “We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Virginie as HS1’s new CFO, following an extensive search and selection process.

“Virginie brings a wealth of experience with years of leading finance teams in the transport sector and is well placed to help grow HS1 at a very exciting time for the business as more and more people look to travel by rail to Europe.

“We would also like to give our sincerest thanks to Claire Howling who has taken on the role as interim CFO. Claire will stay on in a new Finance Director role and continue her fantastic work at HS1.”

Virginie Merle, incoming CFO of HS1 Ltd, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the new CFO of HS1 and I look forward to being a part of the exciting journey of growth for high-speed rail over the coming years.

“I am excited to know that I will be working with a highly professional and motivated team at HS1 and I look forward to collaboration with my new colleagues and the company’s stakeholders to build on the business’s already significant success and unlock its full economic and environmental potential.”