Press release

New chairman of Highways Agency announced

Colin Matthews appointed as non-executive chairman of the Highways Agency.

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

Dual carriageway.

Colin Matthews, former chief executive officer of Heathrow Airport Holdings, has been appointed non-executive chairman of the Highways Agency (HA) it was announced today (21 July 2014).

The new chairman will take over as the HA is transformed into a government-owned company – a move that will deliver billions of pounds of savings for the taxpayer – while spending £24 billion the government is investing in England’s strategic road network up to 2021. The HA operates, maintains and carries out improvements to more than 4,300 miles of motorways and major A-roads throughout England.

Colin joins the HA after more than six years at the helm at BAA, which was renamed as Heathrow Airports Holdings in 2012. At BAA, he transformed the company’s operations, improved customer service, sold various airports and rebuilt Heathrow’s Terminal 2. An engineer by training, Colin worked in a variety of management roles before taking on two large-scale technically-focused jobs at British Airways. He then ran Transco, before becoming Group CEO of Hays, later going on to become Group CEO of Severn Trent, then moving to BAA.

Colin will take over the post of chair of the HA from Alan Cook, who has been in the job since January 2011 and delivered his review of the government’s approach to operating, maintaining and enhancing the Strategic Road Network in November of that year. Alan has delivered a number of recommendations from this review during his tenure and prepared the HA for this transition, in addition to overseeing significant investment in England’s road infrastructure.

Colin Matthews.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:

This government has committed to the biggest ever programme of investment in our roads - £24 billion up to 2021. It is vital we have the right people and structures in place to make sure this huge amount of money is spent in the most efficient and effective way.

I would like to thank Alan Cook for all of his hard work during the course of his appointment – both at the Highways Agency and for the 5½ years’ dedicated service he has provided to the department board. Alan has provided wise advice and challenge to the executive at the Highways Agency and has paved the way for the transformation on which the Agency is now embarking.

Colin Matthews’ appointment demonstrates the commitment we have to revolutionising our roads. His strong business record will give the new strategic highways company the leadership and focus on customer service it needs, which means taxpayers and road users will get a network fit for the future economic demands of this country.

Colin Matthews said:

I am delighted to be taking up the chair of the Highways Agency. Roads matter to drivers and the economy. My focus will be on making them work better.

Long-term stable investment will mean that all road users will be better able to get to their destination safely and quickly‎.

The government has committed to transforming the Highways Agency into a government-owned company - changes which will save the taxpayer at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years and will make the new company more accountable to Parliament and road users.

Supported by a long-term funding commitment underpinned by legislation that will eliminate the uncertain ‘stop-start’ processes of the past, the new company and its suppliers will have the confidence to recruit skilled workers on longer-term contracts that will save the taxpayer money.

The new chairman will take up his post on 1 September 2014, and will be paid £130,000, for a minimum of 78 days’ work per annum, to lead and deliver the transition of the agency to a government-owned company. This is an increase in both remuneration and time commitment to reflect the revised role, the challenges that the Highways Agency face in the coming years. The remuneration for this role, and other non-executive and senior executive posts, are published within the Highways Agency annual report each year.

Published 21 July 2014