Natural England, the Government’s nature conservation advisor, today announced that Dr Helen Phillips, the Chief Executive of Natural England, is moving on to take up a new position as an Executive Director of Yorkshire Water on 1 March 2012. She will continue as Chief Executive of Natural England until then to ensure a smooth transition to her successor.
Poul Christensen, Chair of Natural England, said: “Helen has been a transformational leader for Natural England, creating the new organisation, improving efficiency, building our customer service culture and securing a series of important environmental outcomes.”
Mr Christensen continued, “Helen will leave behind an organisation that has adapted to the new government’s priorities for its Arm’s Length Bodies, and whose record of delivery enables Natural England to face the future with confidence.”
“Under her leadership, Natural England has made its evidence accessible, notably through the publication of the State of the Natural Environment Report, increased to 70% the amount of farmland in Environmental Stewardship, prioritised support for the government’s Natural Environment White Paper and the new England Biodiversity Strategy and achieved favourable and recovering condition for over 95% of England’s most important wildlife sites”.
Helen Phillips said: “The last five years have been the most challenging and fulfilling of my professional life, in which I’ve had the privilege of working with dedicated and talented people to make a difference for the natural environment. I am proud of what we have achieved together and will move to Yorkshire Water confident in the knowledge that Natural England is well positioned for the future.”
Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries at Defra, said, “Under Helen's leadership over the last five years Natural England has made a real difference to our environment. I wish her all the best in her new role."
The Natural England Board will meet to discuss the process by which Helen’s successor will be appointed.