Birmingham University professor of health policy and management Chris Ham is to succeed Niall Dickson as chief executive of the King’s Fund.

Commenting on the appointment, King’s Fund chair Sir Cyril Chantler said: “We are delighted that Chris will be joining the King’s Fund as our new chief executive. Chris brings with him extensive expertise in healthcare, an internationally recognised reputation for research, communication and thought leadership, and a genuine commitment to improvement of healthcare.

“Under Niall Dickson’s leadership, the fund has gone from strength to strength. He has built on the fund’s reputation for independent, expert policy analysis, increased our impact on healthcare through improvement and leadership programmes, and personally made a significant contribution to key areas of national healthcare policy.

“I am confident that Chris will build on the achievements of recent years and ensure that the Fund continues to act as a major force in healthcare policy and improvement over the years to come.”

Chris Ham said: “I am looking forward to joining the King’s Fund at such a fascinating and challenging time for the NHS. The combination of leadership development, high quality, independent policy analysis, and practical support for the improvement of services that the fund provides will be increasingly vital as pressures on the healthcare system continue to grow.

“I have worked closely with the King’s Fund for many years and recognise its positive influence on health policy and on service improvement. I’m pleased to be joining such a committed and effective team.”