James Heath appointed National Infrastructure Commission’s Chief Executive

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THE TREASURY has appointed James Heath as the new CEO of the National Infrastructure Commission.

The new Chief Executive will lead the Commission’s secretariat of around 40 staff at a ‘pivotal time for the organisation.’

The government is due to publish its National Infrastructure Strategy shortly as a formal response to the Commission’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment published in July 2018, which set out a plan of action for the country’s infrastructure over the next 10 to 30 years.

Following publication of the Oakervee review of High Speed 2, the government has asked the Commission to conduct an assessment to inform a new integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands.

James Heath commented on his new post: “Infrastructure has shot to the top of the political agenda and this role offers an unparalleled opportunity to advise government on how to ensure future investment will deliver lasting benefits to communities across the UK.

“I will be joining a talented team and supporting a group of Commissioners whose expertise offers huge value in shaping a strategic approach to infrastructure policy.”

Mr Heath is currently Director of Digital Infrastructure at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

In this role he has led Department for Culture, Media and Sport through the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review and Telecoms Supply Chain Review and had overall responsibility for broadband, mobile and telecoms security policy and the Government’s 5G Trials & Testbed Programme.

Before joining Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2017, he was Director of Policy at the BBC.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, commented on the announcement: “I very much look forward to working with James as the Commission continues to provide rigorous analysis of the future infrastructure challenges facing the UK in the decades ahead.

“It is an important task and one that James is well equipped to help us deliver.”

The appointment was made by Her Majesty’s Treasury, in consultation with Sir Armitt, following an open selection process.

The National Infrastructure Commission was established in 2015 to provide the government with impartial, expert advice on major long-term infrastructure challenges.

Mr Heath succeeds Phil Graham, who moved to the Greater London Authority as Executive Director for Good Growth in January.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman, added: “The Commission plays a key role in supporting the development of effective long term public infrastructure.

“I have no doubt James will be an excellent CEO, and I look forward to working closely with him.”

Mr Heath will take up the role in May.