The appointment of five NHS Commissioning Board executive directors has been announced, including Ian Dalton in the key role of chief operating officer.

The board has confirmed the appointment of:

  • Chief operating officer – Ian Dalton (currently NHS North of England strategic health authority cluster chief executive)
  • National director: Commissioning development – Dame Barbara Hakin (currently national managing director of commissioning development)
  • National director: Improvement and transformation – Jim Easton (currently national director for improvement and efficiency)
  • National director: Policy, corporate development and partnership – Bill McCarthy (currently managing director, NHS Commissioning Board Authority)
  • Chief of staff - Jo-Anne Wass (currently NHS chief of staff).

Mr Dalton will lead what is by far the commissioning board’s largest division. The operations directorate will include 200 staff in regional sector offices, and 2,500 in around 50 local board offices.

It will be responsible for much direct commissioning, overseeing finance and performance, and overseeing clinical commissioning groups.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson is the board’s chief executive and NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh has previously been announced as its medical director.

Appointment of a chief nursing officer and national director of patient and public engagement, insight and informatics is underway. Paul Taylor is acting as finance director, but a permanent appointment is also expected to be made in coming months.

Sir David said in a statement: “I’m delighted to announce these key appointments to join Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director, on our senior leadership team.

“Each individual brings a wealth of experience and professional knowledge that, combined together, gives us a truly outstanding team to take the NHS forward. With this calibre of skills and expertise we have the greatest opportunity to develop the NHS Commissioning Board into a strong, patient-focused and clinically-led organisation that is absolutely driven by the single vision of improving quality and patient outcomes.”

The salaries of the full 10 executive directors are expected to total around £1.7m.

NHS North of England operations director Richard Barker is a favourite to succeed Mr Dalton as chief executive of the NHS North cluster.