NHS Midlands and East director of commissioning Robert Harris has been appointed as the NHS Commissioning Board’s director of strategy, HSJ has learned.

It is one of the early director post appointments to the board.

Professor Harris was director of policy at Monitor before joining NHS East of England.

The new role involves developing the commissioning board’s overarching strategy for the future of NHS service provision, stretching 10-20 years in the future.

It is expected to focus on designing “a delivery system that is fit for our demands”, taking account of limited resource and the aging population.

Professor Harris will report to national director of improvement Jim Easton, and the role will also involve work on the board’s model for bringing about “large scale change” in the NHS.

Before joining the NHS, Professor Harris worked in investment banking and held senior operational management roles in industry.