Ex-Crossrail boss brought in to provide CAM challenge


Former Crossrail chief executive Simon Wright OBE has been appointed to support the development of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).

Mr Wright joins the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority on a part-time consultancy basis, to provide strategic input to the development of a ‘One CAM’ strategy which aims to bring the programme’s component projects together in an integrated scheme.

Simon Wright OBE

The authority described him as ‘a civil engineer and senior executive with more than 40 years’ experience delivering multi-billion pound infrastructure programmes’.

Mr Wright’s previous experience includes as programme director for Crossrail Ltd between July 2014 and March 2018, after which he was briefly chief executive until stepping down in November 2018, part of the fall out of emerging delays to the project.

Between 2013 and 2014, Mr Wright was Network Rail project development director, responsible for the £3bn redevelopment of Euston station. He was director of infrastructure and utilities at the Olympic Delivery Authority for six years leading up to London 2012.

Mr Wright is currently a non-executive director of the Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority Ltd, a special purpose company set up to deliver the restoration of the Houses of Parliament. He is also a non-executive board member of the sponsor board for the project.

Mr Wright said: ‘This is a highly innovative, bespoke transport concept for the region and there are few other systems in the world quite like it. But the method of delivery, through an special purpose vehicle, is very familiar and my job will be to challenge how the CAM develops in a positive way.

‘That means asking the right, and sometimes difficult, questions to ensure that the assumptions that the scheme are based on are always sound and that the innovative thinking required also leads to cost effective and efficient delivery of a reliable system.’

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer said: ‘CAM is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the UK and a world-first. We need leading people who can combine the bold new thinking necessary with a clear-eyed focus on practical delivery. Simon’s role will be to challenge and improve how CAM is developed.

He added: ‘Harnessing and deploying the right expertise and talent at the right time will be critical to building the CAM. We are now working to recruit an outstanding chair and board for our new SPV and we expect to attract more leading minds locally, nationally and globally because of the innovative nature of this scheme.’

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