Partnerships for Schools, the delivery body for the £45bn Building Schools for the Future programme, has appointed a chief executive.

Tim Byles, currently the chief executive of Norfolk council, will take over from Richard Bowker in November.

Bowker quit in May after eight months in the job. He is due to become the chief executive of transport company National Express in July.

Previously, Byles was director of economic development at Kent council.

For the past four years he has been chairman of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives. He has also been chair of the Local Government Taskforce and a national procurement champion for the ODPM.

Jim Knight, the minister for schools, said Byles was taking on a tough job. He said: “The task we have given them is huge and Tim’s role will be a challenging one. However, with a strong emphasis on great design and solid partnerships, Building Schools for the Future will deliver schools fit for the 21st century.”

News of the appointment comes at a turbulent time for the BSF programme. Only one scheme has reached financial close, despite Bowker’s prediction that 10 were likely to have reached this stage by next March.