Chief executives have been appointed to West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber strategic health authorities.

City of York council chief executive Bill McCarthy will lead NHS Yorkshire and Humber, while North Lancashire primary care trust chief executive Ian Cumming will head up NHS West Midlands.

Mr McCarthy, a trained economist, replaces Margaret Edwards, who left in March to lead the new NHS productivity unit.

He has operated at board level in the NHS, central government and local government for the past eight years.

Before his current role, he was director of planning and performance at Leeds Teaching Hospitals trust, director of strategic development at West Yorkshire strategic health authority and Department of Health director general for health and social care strategy, system reform and policy development and implementation.

He said: “I am delighted to have been appointed and am really looking forward to joining the strategic health authority and working on behalf of the people of Yorkshire and the Humber in the future.”

He will join the SHA in mid-August.

NHS Yorkshire and Humber chair Kathryn Riddle said: “We look forward to Bill bringing his strategic vision and undoubted leadership ability back to the NHS, a sector he knows very well indeed. 

“His experience working at the highest levels of local government will help further strengthen our cross government regional relationships.”

‘Crucial time for the NHS’

“This is a crucial time for the NHS, and the challenges we face are considerable, but we are confident we have the right person at the right time to lead us forward.”

New NHS West Midlands chief executive Ian Cumming starts his role early next month, replacing interim chief executive Peter Shanahan, who joined the strategic health authority after Cynthia Bower became Care Quality Commission chief executive last July.

A healthcare scientist by background with 25 years experience in the NHS, Mr Cumming has been a chief executive for 14 years.

He has a particular interest in developing clinical staff as leaders and in medical education, and is vice chairman of the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board and honorary professor at Lancaster University Management School.

He said: “I am delighted to have been appointed and I am very much looking forward to joining the strategic health authority and contributing to the great work already under way. “

NHS West Midlands chair Elisabeth Buggins said: “The NHS is facing challenging times and Ian will bring a wealth of experience with him from clinical, operational and management perspectives.

“In addition, Ian has held regional positions at the North West regional health authority, the predecessor regional body to the current strategic health authorities, and his experience will help us face some of our major strategic challenges. 

She thanked Mr Shanahan, saying he had “ably led the SHA” and “achieved everything asked of him” at a time of huge change in the NHS.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson welcomed the new chief executives to their roles.

He said: “The NHS has a shared ambition to improve the quality of care for patients and both Bill and Ian will play a key role in delivering this ambition for their local communities

“As SHA chief executives, both also join the NHS management board, which sets the strategic direction for the NHS. On behalf of the board I would like to welcome them and look forward to working together.”