New chief executive officer appointed as Highways England evolves into National Highways
IT has been announced that Highways England, the Government company which builds and operates the country’s motorways and major A-roads, is to change its name to National Highways.
The change is said to herald a new era for England’s strategic roads and reflects the new focus the company has on delivering the Government’s £27 billion strategic roads investment programme, while also continuing to set highways standards for the whole UK.
In addition, Nick Harris (pictured) has been appointed as chief executive officer of the new-look National Highways. He will lead the organization as it delivers the Government’s investment and looks towards the future opportunities offered by automation and digitization, as well as delivery of the Government’s net-zero target.
Highways England chair Dipesh J Shah OBE said: ‘I am delighted to appoint Nick as our chief executive officer. Now, more than ever, our infrastructure schemes have an important and perhaps unique role to play in helping our economy to recover.
‘Nick’s steady hand throughout the last few months has established a solid foundation to help us on our journey to transform how we work with our supply chain, how we deliver our net-zero carbon and how we realize our digitalization ambitions.’
Mr Harris, who joined Highways England in 2016 and has been acting chief executive since February 2021, is said to have the proven track record needed to lead and transform the large and complex organization.
According to Highways England, his experience in deploying large-scale contracting and supply chain management, coupled with extensive operational delivery expertise, will take the company forward as it delivers on the £27 billion investment into the strategic road network.
In particular, he will focus on continued road safety improvements and the transformation of National Highways as a global leader in road building and maintenance, as well as delivering world-class health and safety.
Commenting on confirmation of his permanent appointment, Mr Harris said: ‘I am pleased to be taking up the reins at such an exciting time. We have achieved a great deal and there is still more to be done.
‘As we deliver the second roads investment strategy, ensuring the safety of all road users, the delivery of our work and the benefits to our customers remain at the centre of our organization.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Nick will be an excellent chief executive officer and I’m looking forward to continuing to work closely with him as we build back better across the country.
‘He will steer Highways England into an exciting new chapter, as it evolves into National Highways and delivers on our £27 billion plan to improve our roads and make journeys safer, smoother and greener.’