Mr Andrew Sells has been confirmed as the Chairman of Natural England. Mr Sells is expected to take up the post on 20 January 2014.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:
This is an incredibly important role which carries significant responsibilities. I am delighted to have confirmed Mr Andrew Sells as Chairman of Natural England and I look forward to him bringing his particular skills and insights to the Board.
In the report published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee on 13 December, the Committee concluded:
We are satisfied that Andrew Sells has the professional competence and personal independence required for the post of Chairman of Natural England and that he will be well placed to lead the organisation. We therefore welcome his nomination and encourage the Secretary of State to make the appointment. We wish Mr Sells every success in his new post.
The recruitment was carried out in accordance with the ‘Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies’ published by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The panel overseeing the recruitment was chaired by an Assessor appointed by the Commissioner. The Commissioner is independent of government and his role is to ensure that the best people get appointed to public bodies based on merit.
There is a requirement for an appointee’s political activity (if any) to be declared, and Mr Sells has declared that he has made donations to the Conservative Party in the past. He was also co-treasurer of the cross-party NO2AV campaign (and a donor to that campaign), and did some public speaking on the Alternative Vote referendum.
The Select Committee’s full report can be found here