Highways England has appointed a new chair with a brief to lead the delivery of the government’s second five year Road Investment Strategy.

Dipesh Shah, who assumes the role on 1 September, will replace Colin Matthews, who has held the role for six years.

Shah was selected after a competitive selection and brings extensive experience as a non-executive director of Thames Water, Commissioner of the Crown Estates and as former CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

The new chair will be responsible for the delivery of the second five-year Road Investment Strategy.

The £27bn strategy, known as RIS2, began in April 2020 and aims to improve the safety, reliability and connectivity of England’s strategic road network.

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

Shah, who has an OBE, said: “I am honoured to be invited to chair Highways England, which plays a pivotal role in connecting communities across England.

“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.”

Roads Minister Baroness 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’m delighted 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.

“I’d also like to thank Colin Matthews for seeing Highways England through its first phase as a new company, including successful delivery of the first Road Investment Strategy.”