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Agency seeks leader for £1bn annual spend

Control of the Highways Agency’s £1bn a year major projects programme is in limbo this week after the road operator was forced to appoint a second “interim” director.

The agency has confirmed that its safety, standards and research director Ginny Clarke is to take on the role after its first interim major projects director Jerry England leaves on 12 October.

England was taken on in February as a six-month appointment after major projects boss Keith Miller was sacked in response to Mike Nichols’ damning verdict of the Agency’s major project delivery (NCE 15 February).

But he has chosen not to take the post on full-time and instead is joining Network Rail to become its director of civil

Agency chief executive Archie Robertson is now recruiting for a major projects director with significant project management expertise, (NCE 27 September 2007).

Clarke currently heads the Highways Agency’s Safety, Standards and Research (SSR) directorate and has also been standing in as procurement director, following former procurement director Steve Rowsell’s shock departure last December (NCE 14 December).

Hilary Chipping, the Highway Agency’s network strategy director, will take on board responsibility for procurement, while leading on the network strategy.

Alan Pickett, currently a divisional director in SSR, will join the Highways Agency board on a temporary basis as director for safety, standards and research.

"The post of director for major projects is an important senior appointment for the Highways Agency, as we move forward with our roads programme.

"We are determined to secure the right person for the role," Pickett said this week.

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