Colin Matthews tasked with transitioning agency into a government-owned company

Former Heathrow airport chief executive Colin Matthews has been appointed chair of the Highways Agency.

He is set to take the reigns of the Highways Agency on 1 September and will oversee it as it is as it spun out as a government-owned company - a move the government estimates will save £2.5bn over the next ten years

Matthews, an engineer by trade, was in charge of BAA, renamed Heathrow Airport Holdings, for six years and has overseen the rebuild of Terminal 2 among other projects.

He has also held senior roles at gas transporter Transco, water company Severn Trent and distribution firm Hays.

He will replace Alan Cook who has been the chair of the Agency since January 2011.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said Matthews’ appointed demonstrated “the commitment we have to revolutionising our roads”.

He added: “His strong business record will give the new strategic highways company the leadership and focus on customer service it needs, which means taxpayers and road users will get a network fit for the future economic demands of this country.”

Matthews said: “I am delighted to be taking up the chair of the Highways Agency. Roads matter to drivers and the economy. My focus will be on making them work better.

“Long-term stable investment will mean that all road users will be better able to get to their destination safely and quickly‎.”

Matthews will be paid £130,000 for a minimum of 78 days of work per year.