Jim O’Sullivan named as new Highways England chief executive

Jim O’Sullivan has been appointed as the new chief executive of Highways England.

O’Sullivan will lead the government-owned company which is responsible for delivering £11 billion of improvements to England’s motorways and major A roads by 2020.

He is an experienced engineer who will bring significant leadership experience to this key role. O’Sullivan has a broad range of experience working on safety critical transport projects, in the utilities industries and in world renowned businesses including British Airways and Heathrow Airport Holdings.

O’Sullivan will take over the chief executive post from Graham Dalton who announced his departure in January after seven years leading Highways England predecessor the Highways Agency.

Highways England chairman Colin Matthews said: “I am delighted to announce Jim’s appointment to lead Highways England in a new, challenging era. The government has committed to the biggest investment in roads in a generation: there are more than 100 roads schemes in its Road Investment Strategy which Highways England will be responsible for delivering to provide safer, more reliable and much improved journeys on our busiest roads.

“I would like to thank Graham Dalton for his leadership over the past seven years. He has been responsible for significant improvement schemes, as well as meeting the needs of the nation during severe weather and events of international interest such as the 2012 Olympics, all culminating in the successful transition from the Highways Agency to Highways England.”

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “Jim’s experience of leading world-class infrastructure companies means I can be confident he will ensure that the benefits of the record investment this government is making in our roads delivers for drivers and businesses across the whole of the UK on time and on budget.”

O’Sullivan will join on Monday 22 June 2015, before formally taking over from Graham Dalton on Wednesday 1 July 2015.

As managing director of the Airports Division at Heathrow Airport Holdings (BAA) between October 2012 and December 2014, he was responsible for all the group’s airports outside Heathrow. He was previously managing director at Edinburgh Airport, and technical standards and assurance director at Heathrow Airport Holdings (BAA); he spent four years at Central Networks (Eon UK) as capital delivery and field force director, and he worked for British Airways for 14 years between 1988 and 2002, serving some of that time as chief engineer for Concorde and as technical director for the airline.

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