Global Indian chief to tackle Englands highways

Global Indian chief to tackle Englands highways

A Global Indian professional who has worked across leading public and private sector forms in the UK has been selected as the new Chair of Highways England, the UK government-owned company charged with operating, maintaining and improving England's highways and major road infrastructure.

Dipesh J. Shah was chosen after a competitive process to lead the government's ambitious plans to level up road infrastructure across the country, the UK's Department of Transport said as it confirmed the?new appointment this week.

“I am honoured to be invited to chair Highways England, which plays a pivotal role in connecting communities across England,” said Shah.

“I look forward to working with colleagues to deliver the very significant programme of improvement and expansion of the road network in support of the government's levelling-up agenda,” he said.

Safety and connectivity

Shah will take up his new role from September 1 and will be responsible for the delivery of the UK government's second five-year road investment strategy. The £27-billion strategy, known as RIS2, began in April 2020 and will further improve the safety, reliability and connectivity of England's strategic road network, Highways England said.

It said that Shah brings "extensive experience" from both the public and private sectors, having chaired several organisations including a listed power utility, housing association and the European industry association for solar.

He has also served on the boards of Thames Water, Babcock International and the Crown Estate, as well as on boards in the infrastructure, financial services and energy sectors. Shah was formerly the CEO?of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, having earlier held several senior positions at BP.

Jobs and skills

UK Roads Minister Baroness Charlotte Vere said: “This government is determined to build our way out of Covid-19, providing the infrastructure, jobs and skills needed to support our economy.

“I am delighted that Dipesh Shah will be leading the Highways England team at this crucial time, delivering major projects that will really make a difference to communities across the country.”

Shah takes over from Colin Matthews, who has led the organisation since 2014 through a period dubbed as one of "significant change", from its initial establishment as a government-owned company through to its delivery of the RIS1 programme and subsequent plans for RIS2.

by Nadia Hatink

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