Regeneration quango English Partnerships has appointed Lend Lease boss David Higgins as its chief executive.

The Australian is stepping down as Lend Lease managing director and group chief executive next year. Higgins’ departure comes after nearly 18 years with the group. He does, however, want to remain in the UK, where he has been living for the past three-and-a-half years.

Higgins said Lend Lease’s involvement with EP on the redevelopment of the Millennium Dome site in Greenwich, south-east London, inspired him to apply for its top job.

He said he does not know when he will take up his role: “The date hasn’t formally been set down, but it will be some time after the first quarter of next year,” he said.

Higgins added that his experiences with Lend Lease on regeneration projects, such as the 2000 Sydney Olympics, would help him in his role.

EP’s acting chief executive, John Walker, is to move on to the Housing Corporation, a body with which EP will work more closely after a recent directive from John Prescott.

Higgins confirmed that Ross Taylor, head of Bovis parent division Real Estate Solutions, is on the shortlist to succeed him as boss of the whole Lend Lease group, as Building reported last week.