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First chairman of Highways Agency board appointed

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Alan Cook appointed first chairman of the Highways Agency.

Alan Cook has been appointed as the first ever non-executive chairman of the Highways Agency (HA) board.

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

Mr 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 of the Office of Fair Trading. He was formerly Managing Director of the Post Office, Chief Executive Officer of National Savings & Investments and Chief Operating Officer of Prudential.

Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, said:

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.

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. The appointment of Mr Cook as a non-executive Chairman to the Agency Board is a crucial part of this process.

Mr Cook said:

I am looking forward to taking on this role and working closely with HA chief executive Graham Dalton and his team.

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.

Mr Cook’s 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.

Further information

The initial appointment will be effective for twelve months, during which time an open competition will be held for the appointment.

Alan Cook has committed fifty days to the role for 2011, for which he will receive remuneration of £40,000.

Mr Cook has had many years of experience in financial services and has worked extensively in both the private and public sectors. He is currently Chairman of Action for ME, the UK’s leading charity supporting sufferers of ME/CFS and is also a non-executive board member at the Department for Transport. Mr Cook is a non-executive Director of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Office of Fair Trading. He is also on the Board of Governors of the University of Bedfordshire.

He was formerly Managing Director of the Post Office and prior to that, CEO of National Savings & Investments and Chief Operating Officer of Prudential.

He is a Chartered Insurer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and of the Chartered Institute of Management and a Freeman of the City of London. He was awarded a CBE in 2006.

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