Two major NHS appointments will see chief executives from local government and a primary care trust leading Yorkshire and the Humber and West Midlands strategic health authorities.

City of York council chief executive Bill McCarthy will take up his new post as NHS Yorkshire and the Humber chief executive in mid-August. It is thought to be the first time a council chief executive has taken the reins at an SHA.

North Lancashire primary care trust chief executive Ian Cumming will lead NHS West Midlands from next month.

A Yorkshire foundation trust chief executive told HSJ it was hoped that Mr McCarthy would favour a more collaborative approach than that of his predecessor Margaret Edwards, who has left to lead the new NHS productivity unit.

The new chief executive will have to watch progress at Healthcare Commission double-weak rated Scarborough and North East Yorkshire healthcare trust.

Mr McCarthy’s appointment was a surprise to many in the region, but he is seen as a “well rounded” leader who “thinks about things quite deeply, and is certainly not someone who demands decisions”, the chief executive added.

Mr McCarthy was director of policy and strategy at the Department of Health, working closely with former health secretary Patricia Hewitt and helping to introduce payment by results. He has also worked at Leeds Teaching Hospitals trust and the now defunct West Yorkshire SHA.

Another health service figure in Yorkshire said Mr McCarthy would be acutely aware of problems with social care, adding there had been a “very positive reaction” to his appointment to the SHA.

At NHS West Midlands, Mr Cumming will replace Peter Shanahan, who has been interim chief executive since last July.

Mr Cumming has been an NHS chief executive for 14 years and is vice chair of the Post-graduate Medical Education and Training Board and honorary professor at Lancaster University management School.

North Lancashire PCT got a double fair score in last year’s annual health check, but performed well in HSJ’s world class commissioning league table.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson welcomed the new chief executives, saying they would play significant roles in improving the quality of care for their local communities.

He also welcomed them to the NHS management board, which sets the strategic direction for the NHS.