After the NCB’s draft structure was revealed by HSJ earlier this month, speculation has begun over who will be chosen to fill the roles.

According to the draft proposals for the NHS Commissioning Board, the organisation would have a chair, five non-executive directors and five executive board members: the chief executive (current NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson); medical director; nursing director; director of finance, performance and operations; and a director of commissioning development.

There will be another four national directors – for patient engagement, insight and informatics; strategy and transformation; policy and corporate development; and a chief of staff. There will also be five national professional leads each overseeing a clinical improvement area. The structure is intended to put “healthcare outcomes and professional and clinical leadership at the heart of the board”.

Frontrunners have emerged for some posts. Sir Bruce Keogh is expected to remain medical director and David Flory may remain in charge of finance, performance and operations unless he is named Monitor chief executive, a job with which he has been strongly linked.

The current director of commissioning development Dame Barbara Hakin is likely to remain in the same post, although it is known she is considering retirement. National director for quality and efficiency Jim Easton is also a likely candidate for one of the top jobs, as are some of the strategic health authority chief executives who may lose their posts when the organisations are clustered in coming months.

NHS Yorkshire and the Humber chief executive Bill McCarthy is a strong contender for a national post, as is national director of provider development and NHS North East chief executive Ian Dalton, if they do not end up running one of the board’s four regional outposts.

Jo-Anne Wass, Sir David’s chief of staff, is expected to become board chief of staff.

The government had been hoping to appoint a private sector figure to the chair post but more recently Lord Darzi, surgeon and ex-health minister, and Steve Field, GP and chair of the NHS Future Forum “listening exercise”, have been linked to the job.