The post which had been expected to become the second most senior job in the new NHS has been split in two.

The NHS Commissioning Board will no longer have a single director of finance, performance and operations, the Department of Health has proposed.

Instead there will be a director of finance, which will be a board voting post, and a chief operating officer, which will not.

A DH document seen by HSJ says: “It is proposed that there will now be a director of finance and a chief operating officer in the senior team, recognising the scale of the budgetary responsibilities and the new complexities of financial discipline and management in a completely new system.”

David Flory - the current NHS deputy chief executive who has responsibility for finance, performance and operations - had been expected to take on the similar commissioning board role. The change in plans has prompted speculation about Mr Flory’s role on the commissioning board, which will be formally established as a special health authority next week. Senior sources said the change could mean Mr Flory had decided not to apply for a role on the board.

However, they also acknowledged that he could remain in the director of finance role.

The job split is revealed in an update to the July publication Developing the NHS Commissioning Board. It says the only executive directors with board voting rights will be those required in legislation - the chief executive, finance director, medical director and chief nursing officer.

It says recruitment of nine executive director posts “will begin in the next few weeks”.

The other director-level posts are commissioning development; patient and public engagement, insight and informatics; improvement and transformation; policy, corporate development and partnership; and chief of staff.

University College London provost Malcolm Grant was appointed as commissioning board chair last week after narrowly winning endorsement from MPs.