Ex-bus company boss Bob Davies vies with English Partnerships’ Robert Napier to head superage

The former chief executive of bus company Arriva is one of the two remaining candidates to become the first chair of the Homes and Communities Agency.

Bob Davies, who stepped down from Arriva in 2006, is competing with Robert Napier, chairman of English Partnerships.

Caroline Flint, the housing minister, is due to announce which candidate has won in the next few weeks.

The agency, which will spend £16.8bn of government money between 2008 and 2011, will be launched in December. It is to be formed by combining the Housing Corporation and regeneration quango English Partnerships.

According to several sources, the appointments process has whittled the selection down to a two-man shortlist of Davies and Napier. One source said a final decision was “imminent.”

Davies would be a surprise appointment, as he has little experience of the housing and regeneration sector. He is chair of the CBI in north-east England and a non-executive director of Barratt. He has also been chief executive of Eastern Electricity.

He could not be reached for comment.

Napier has considerably more experience of the sector, having led work on the Code for Sustainable Homes while chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund. Prior to this, he was chief executive of roof-tile company Redland.

Napier declined to comment.

The communities department is also due to announce the appointment of a chief executive for the new social housing regulator, the Tenant Services Authority.

The communities department declined to comment.