The current EP chair will take on the same role at the Homes and Communities Agency when it opens for business on December 1

The chair of the government’s regeneration agency English Partnerships will become chair of the proposed joined-up housing and regeneration agency, the government announced today.

Robert Napier

Robert Napier will be the first chair of the Homes and Communities Agency when it goes live on December 1 this year. The government has already appointed former Sheffield council chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake to be chief executive of the agency, which will combine the work of English Partnerships, social housing body the Housing Corporation, and central government funding.

Napier was chosen after a run-off against the former chief executive of bus company Arriva, Bob Davies, as revealed in Building this week. The agency is to be given responsibility for meeting the government’s three-million homes target by 2020, as well as the improvement of social housing stock and regeneration of deprived areas.

In addition the government announced Peter Marsh, currently deputy chief executive of the Housing Corporation, will become chief executive of new social housing regulator the Tenant Services Authority, also as predicted by Building.

Robert Napier was made chair of English Partnerships in January 2008, having previously been chief executive of WWF-UK, the UK arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature from 1999 to April 2007. Before that he spent 16 years at roof tile firm Redland plc, where he was successively financial director, managing director and chief executive. He is currently chair of the Met Office and a non-executive director of Anglian Water.

Housing Minister Caroline Flint said: "We need two exceptional people to help deliver our housing ambitions and I am pleased to welcome both Peter and Robert on their appointment. The Homes and Communities Agency will benefit from having the outstanding, regeneration, development and environmental sustainability skills and experience of Robert Napier as chair."

Robert Napier said he was a “passionate believer” in the added benefits of the new agency. “Our work with local authorities to underpin their efforts to deliver better quality places will be one of our most important tasks," he said.

Accepting the post of Chief Executive of the Tenant Services Authority Peter Marsh said he was “honoured” to have been offered the job.

The appointments were welcomed by Sarah Webb, Chief Executive of Chartered Institute of Housing. She said: "We are looking forward to offering Peter our support to help establish and develop the HCA - an immensely important new organisation for the housing sector.

"Our congratulations also go to Peter. His comments at the CIH UK Conference in Harrogate last week showed he has a real passion and vision for improving the services and choices for residents.”