Michèle started her career at the Greater London Council (GLC) after completing a Civil Engineering degree and then went on to complete her Ph.D. in Transport and Land Use Planning at Leeds University. Michèle eventually became a Chartered Civil Engineer through the GLC’s Transport Planning graduate scheme, and six years later she moved to consultants Halcrow Fox where she became the Board Director of Urban Transport Planning. In 2000, she joined TfL as Co-director of Congestion Charging, later developing the Low Emission Zone before becoming Managing Director of Planning in 2007 to lead TfL’s strategic thinking on the future transport needs of London.
“…I job shared for nine years with Malcolm Murray-Clark…We had complementary skill sets, but importantly we were friends and shared the same work ethic…”
Please can you tell us a bit about your role at TfL?
I’ve been at TfL for 15 years (since TfL was first formed). In the first seven I was the Director of Congestion Charging and I job shared with Malcolm Murray-Clark. I was responsible for the planning, development, delivery and operation of the world’s first congestion charging scheme. We then were promoted to the Managing Director of Planning, responsible for TfL’s strategic plans; futures projects and policies.
When Malcolm retired I continued for five years part-time and recently took up a new challenge of leading the delivery of Crossrail 2 – a vital new railway twice the length of Crossrail 1 – needed to support London’s growth.
What career path did you take to get there?
I did a Civil Engineering degree, then a Ph.D. in Transport and Land Use Planning. I then became a Chartered Civil Engineer through experience at the GLC (Greater London Council), followed by 15 years working for the private sector (Halcrow) becoming the board director for Urban Transport, before moving to TfL to introduce the congestion charging scheme.
What are your objectives and timelines for the Crossrail 2 project?
To safeguard the route (just done!), agree a single preferred scheme (end 2015), submit for powers (end 2017), gain them (end 2019), start construction (2019), open scheme (2030).
What is the budget and headcount for the project?
£27bn to deliver it. Currently we have 40 people in the core team supported by four consultancy groups.
You successfully job shared in a previous senior level role. Please can you tell us about this?
I job shared for nine years with Malcolm Murray-Clark (as the Director of Congestion Charging and Managing Director of Planning). I had known Malcolm since I was a graduate. We had complementary skill sets, but importantly we were friends and shared the same work ethic.
Why do you think more senior level roles aren’t offered in a job share / part-time basis?
The one Malcolm and I applied for wasn’t offered on a job-share basis. We just offered ourselves as the ‘right person’ for the job and got it. You need to go for things that you want.
Have you had chance to make any plans for the future once the project is delivered?
When I eventually retire I’d like to run a tea room – baking cakes and serving teas!