NHS deputy chief executive David Flory is to become the first head of the body charged with creating an all-foundation-trust provider sector.

Mr Flory, who is also NHS director-general of finance, performance and operations, will take up the post when the NHS Trust Development Authority becomes fully operational in April 2013.

He will continue as NHS deputy chief executive until March 2013.

There are currently 112 NHS trusts in the foundation trust pipeline, providing roughly £31bn in services.

At the moment the strategic health authority clusters and the Department of Health are responsible for shepherding their trusts through the Monitor assessment process. The chief executive of every NHS trust has had to sign an agreement setting out a timetable showing when they will apply.

An analysis of these documents shows 2013 is the year most trusts intend to submit their applications to the DH. If the DH approves them it will pass them on to Monitor to continue the process.

On his appointment, Mr Flory, said: “We have a really challenging couple of years ahead and I want to continue to make my own contribution to ensuring a smooth transition with the establishment of this important new organisation.”

In the interim period the NTDA will have the power to appoint chairs and non-executive directors from October this year, having been legally established in June as a special health authority.

The DH has said it still had a “strong expectation” that “the majority” of NHS trusts will achieve foundation status by April 2014, but several are now predicting they will fail to achieve this.

A document on the setting up of the NTDA, released in January, said: “As with all new arm’s-length bodies, the NTDA will be subject to a review of the continued need for it to remain in existence, and this is likely to take place in 2016.”