Transport for the North (TfN) has appointed a new chief executive, as the body gears up to deliver key advice to government on the Northern Powerhouse agenda.
Merseytravel's director general David Brown has been handed the role and will take up the post shortly after previously heading up South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and acting as a key architect of Rail North.
Like TfN, Rail North brings together local authorities into a single body that is set to eventually inherit devolved powers.
David Brown: Leading the North to better transport
Mr Brown said: ‘I'm delighted to be taking up this new role within TfN at a really exciting time for transport across the region and beyond. TfN will be at the forefront of delivering an integrated and holistic approach to transport in the North and I relish the opportunity to help shape and drive that forward.’
In March 2016 TfN is scheduled to publish an updated strategy for enhancing connectivity between the region’s cities, with a progress report due in the autumn. In the summer it published an initial report on potential transport improvements in the region.
In this year’s Budget, chancellor Osborne handed the local authority led group a £30m operational fund over three years to support running costs and enable them to advance their work programme, as well a setting a timetable for TfN’s progress towards statutory body status.
As TfN chief executive Mr Brown will be tasked with overseeing the creation of a future blueprint for the body as it builds towards being a statutory body from 2017 onwards.
Sir Richard Leese, interim chair of TfN, said: ‘We're delighted to welcome David into the post of CEO. His experience to date speaks for itself and there's no doubt that David will play a key role in bringing together authorities across the North of England to allow the North to speak with a single voice on the big decisions to benefit the region as a whole.
‘We look forward to working with David to drive the way forward for TfN to play its part in delivering the vision for a Northern Powerhouse, by enabling the organisation and, as a result, the region to reach its full potential through strategic collaboration across national transport agencies and the city regions.’
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: ‘I am delighted to welcome David Brown as CEO of Transport for the North. Given David's wealth of experience in the region's transport sector, he is perfectly placed to bring momentum to this vital new organisation.
‘We set up Transport for the North so the region can exercise real power and make its voice heard on how we can best invest in transport.’