Former Crest Nicholson chief executive to be unveiled later today.

John Callcutt, the straight-talking former chief executive of housebuilder Crest Nicholson, has been named as the new boss of regeneration agency English Partnerships.

The announcement was made at the MIPIM property fair this afternoon. Callcutt will succeed David Higgins, who recently left EP to take over at the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body managing the capital programme for the London 2012 games.

Calcutt will take up his appointment on 2 May for a three-year period. He will step down as deputy chairman of Crest.

Calcutt said: "The big issues to be addressed are delivery volume, quantity and environmental standards. Getting these three together is a formidible challenge."

"I hope housebuilders will see this as a further step by government to engage with them positively."

Chairman of English Partnership Mrs Ford said, "John is a very big player in our field and brings to us his wealth of knowledge and experience working in the regeneration sector."

"John has shown exactly how to balance Government's aspirations for quality and sustainability with accelerated delivery of complex regeneration projects. This approach is at the core of English Partnerships' programme."

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott added, "John has shown immense calibre and empathy with the concept of creating sustainable communities through his work with Crest Nicholson. He will bring his wealth of private sector experience to work in partnership with the public sector to continue to drive delivery of English Partnerships' programme.