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Boots property chief handed £4.5bn education brief

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Boots’ property chief Michael Green has been appointed as the new director of capital for the Education Funding Agency, which will replace Partnerships for Schools in April

Green, who was selected by a panel which included EFA chief executive designate Peter Lauener and chief construction adviser Paul Morrell, will oversee £4.5 billion of capital projects in 2012, including the Priority School Building Programme and academies.

According to AJ’s sister publication Construction News, Green will take up his role in April and lead a new team of three divisional directors under the new executive agency of the Department for Education. The agency will combine the roles of Partnerships for Schools and the Young People’s Learning Agency.

The new appointee, who Construction News understands has signed a contract for the £130,000 a year role, will sit on the government construction board and will join the senior team of the Education Funding Agency under the leadership of EFA chief executive designate Peter Lauener.

Green, the former head of StoreCare at Alliance Boots Property, has previously worked for civil engineering contractors including Mowlem, AF Budge and Thyssen.

He has more than a decade of experience leading multi-site construction programmes for Boots, as well as responsibility for all aspects of maintaining the company’s estate of more than 3,000 buildings nationwide.

He said: ‘I am very excited about joining the capital team within a new organisation which is directly contributing to improving the lives and futures of young people across the country.’

A director at one schools contractor, who did not wish to be named, said there was some surprise that Mr Green had been appointed from the private sector.

He said: “We are moving into a private sector-looking environment with market funding, and efficiency savings. But there are a lot more people issues in the public sector, which he will have to deal with.

“Now we are looking for clarity to see what the structure is, and making sure that he has the best people around him.”

Some of the best people in the industry will also have gone for the job, he added.

Speaking about Green’s appointment, EFA chief executive designate Peter Lauener said: ‘The EFA’s director of capital will need the drive, innovation and enterprise necessary to lead a team delivering the capital aspects of the government’s ambitious education reforms and ensure value for the taxpayers’ money.

‘With a background in civil engineering, experience of leading a major transformation programme, and first-hand knowledge of many areas of significance for EFA business, the appointment panel was unanimous that Mike will be an excellent member of the EFA senior leadership team.’

However Marcus Fagent, EC Harris partner said Mr Green would bring high level private sector expertise which would be invaluable in his new job.

He said: ‘He has delivered a big rationalisation of Boots’ estate; rationalised their approach and processes and done a lot of things which will be appropriate for his new role. He has been a client of ours for a while and we have a very high regard, and hold a lot of faith in him.’

Contractors on the £4 billion schools framework have been invited to a breakfast briefing at PfS’s London headquarters tomorrow when the new property chief is likely to be announced.

During his time at Boots, Mr Green covered areas including design, funding, procurement, development and aftercare phases of a programme.

He was manager of property transformation of the Boots estate following its merger with Alliance, with the project delivered ahead of schedule and significantly under budget.

This involved leading a team drawn from across the two businesses to oversee a programme of re-branding existing premises and opening 1,000 new stores. At the peak of activity around 25 new stores opened each week. Mike was also involved in the delivery of the company’s flagship £15m Oxford Street store

In November, PfS appointed three divisional directors to oversee delivery of its remit in the short-term before becoming part of the senior team in the Capital Directorate of the EFA.

All three will now report to Mr Green. They are:

  • Former regional operations director Mike Coleman who became divisional director for programme delivery. He will oversee the £2bn Priority School Building Programme, as well as legacy Building Schools for the Future schemes, and work on academies and free schools.
  • Former technology and planning director Russell Andrews who has become divisional director for planning and funding. He will be responsible for strategic planning, including major budgets and capital allocations, legal and commercial matters, pupil place planning and basic need.
  • Former regional operations director David Burns who has become divisional director for programme advice and support. He will be responsible for technical and property advice, as well as ICT and design.

Of the £4.5bn capital programme in 2012, £3.5bn will go to local authorities while the remaining £1bn will be allocated to projects delivered in-house by the EFA including new builds, refurbishments and maintenance across free schools, voluntary-aided schools, academies, studio schools, university technical colleges and university training schools.

The panel who selected Mr Green consisted of Mr Lauener; Mr Morrell; PfS interim chief executive Ruth Thompson; civil services commissioner and group HR director of Morgan Crucible, Peter Blausten and DfE non executive director Theodore Agnew.

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