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Highways Agency brings in first non-executive chairman

lan Cook has been appointed as the first ever non-executive chairman of the Highways Agency board.

The new post has been established to ensure greater efficiency at the Agency and to provide independent advice to transport secretary Philip Hammond.

Cook has held senior positions in both the private and public sectors. He is a non-executive Board member at the Department for Transport and a non-executive Director of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Office of Fair Trading. He was formerly managing director of the Post Office, chief executive of National Savings & Investments and Chief Operating Officer of Prudential.

“As part of the Spending Review Settlement, that saw a relatively generous capital allocation for Highways Agency projects, the Highways Agency has agreed to meet some very tough targets for efficiency improvements,” said Hammond.

“Alan Cook’s experience as a board member of the Department for Transport and his extensive experience elsewhere, make him well placed to support the Highways Agency as it implements the changes required to deliver the agreed efficiencies during the spending review period.”

As part of the spending review settlement the Department for Transport announced a series of measures to ensure that the Agency is structured in the best way to deliver effective services.

“This is a challenging time for the public sector generally and the HA has some particularly difficult issues to work through as it seeks to maintain a high level of service for road users against a challenging public spending background,” said Cook.

His role will involve him agreeing the HA’s performance measures for 2011-12 as part of the Agency’s annual business plan. He will also provide valuable input to other measures, including agreeing the terms of reference for the independent review to determine whether the Government has the most appropriate approach to the operation, maintenance and enhancement of the strategic roads network.

Ministers will review the structure and governance of the Agency to see whether broader reform can generate even better value for money.

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