HA Colin Matthews lr

Former Heathrow Airport Holdings chief executive Colin Matthews is to take over as chairman of the Highways Agency from September.

Matthews will take up his new role as the agency is transformed into a government-owned company in a controversial move intended to save £2.6bn over the next 10 years.

A former group CEO of Hays and Severn Trent, Matthews takes over the post from Alan Cook, who has held it since January 2011.

Matthews will be paid £130,000 for a minimum of 78 day’s work a year, said the agency – equating to a daily rate of up to £1,666.

Commenting on the appointment, secretary of state for transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “This government has committed to the biggest ever programme of investment in our roads - £24bn up to 2021. It is vital we have the right people and structures in place to make sure this huge amount of money is spent in the most efficient and effective way.

“Colin Matthews’ appointment demonstrates the commitment we have to revolutionising our roads. His strong business record will give the new strategic highways company the leadership and focus on customer service it needs,” he added.