HS2 hires ex-Tube Lines GC for top legal role

High Speed 2 Limited (HS2) has appointed former Tube Lines GC Nicole Geoghegan as general counsel (GC) and company secretary.

HS2 is the developer of Britain’s new north-south high speed rail line connecting the capital to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Geoghegan, who joins the company today, joins from oil and gas services provider Contract Resources Group where she was also GC.

Before that she was GC for GHD, an Australia based engineering consulting business.

In addition, Geoghegan spent six years working as GC for Transport for London’s underground rail maintenance arm, Tube Lines, where her responsibilities included advising on a 30-year £30bn contract to upgrade and maintain London’s underground railway system.

The new appointment comes after a period of change for HS2′s legal team. The company appointed two successive interim GCs following the departure of Betty Morgan in February 2015 who had held the role for two years before retiring.

Geoghegan replaces ex-Ashurst lawyer Fiona Hammond who joined HS2 as interim GC in November from creative agency Iris Nation Worldwide.

Previously, Stephenson Harwood rail partner Suzanne Tarplee was seconded to work for HS2 as interim GC for six months from March last year.

Construction on the first phase of the high speed line between London and Birmingham is due to start in 2017 and be completed by 2025. The first train services will run from 2026.

In January, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) scored a high-profile mandate to advise HS2.

The firm is providing legal advice on infrastructure, construction and rolling stock on what will become the first new railway north of London in 120 years.

In 2012, legacy SJ Berwin won a lead role for an action group campaigning against the planned high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, after not-for-profit organisation HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) took its protest to the High Court.

The same year, Nabarro also won a mandate to represent developers bringing a judicial review against the project, with the City firm advising Heathrow Hub Limited.