The first Chief Executive of York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority has been appointed.

James Farrar, currently Interim Head of Paid Service and Director of Economy at the Combined Authority, is confirmed in the new post.

Prior to the formation of the Combined Authority in January this year, James was Chief Operating Officer of York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and played a leading role in the development and implementation of the region’s historic devolution deal. The deal enables powers and funding to be moved to the region, with delivery led by an elected Mayor and the new Combined Authority.

The Combined Authority will deliver £112 million of investment in 2024/25. This includes a £67 million local transport fund, £12.7 million for brownfield housing, £10 million of green economy investment, £2.9 million for skills provision – including the implementation of a devolved adult education budget – and the annual £18 million Mayoral Investment Fund, which will be used for mayoral priorities.

David Skaith, Mayor of York and North Yorkshire, said:


“James’ passion, commitment and understanding of the region stood out in interview and I look forward to building on our already strong relationship.


“This is a key appointment for the Combined Authority and James will lead the Senior Leadership Team, providing the vision and drive to ensure we build a Combined Authority that is trusted and delivers across the region.


“A key first job for James will be to complete the Senior Leadership Team and set out the plans to deliver the ambitions of myself and the wider Combined Authority. We secured a great devolution deal and need to ensure we have the team and resources in place to make a real difference to our communities across the region.”

York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority has a membership of City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council. Formed on January 22, 2024, elections to appoint a Mayor took place on May 2. York & North Yorkshire Office for Policing, Fire, Crime and Commissioning (OPFCC) joined the Combined Authority on May 7. The OPFCC is the link between the public and the Police and Fire services, working to ensure the Police and Fire Services are held accountable, and that the public’s questions and concerns are taken seriously. The OPFCC also invests millions of pounds a year on key commissioned services for the local community, helping both to prevent crime and support those impacted by it.


James Farrar said:


“Having led the development and negotiation of the devolution deal, I am proud to now have the opportunity to work alongside the Mayor to turn this into reality and make a real difference to the communities across York and North Yorkshire.


“Success will see all parts of York and North Yorkshire benefit and to achieve that we will need to work locally across the whole area. I am committed to ensuring partnership is embedded in our operating model. Born and raised in the region, I am incredibly passionate about the area and have a deep understanding of the opportunities within York and North Yorkshire.”

A start date for the Chief Executive is to be determined. A recruitment process will take place to fill James’ current position of Director of Economy.

News of the Chief Executive follows the appointment of Mike Russell as the Combined Authority’s Director of Resources. Mike, who starts on Monday 22 July, previously worked in senior roles at Tees Valley Combined Authority and at director level within the further education sector.

Mike Russell said:


“As I step into my new role at the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, I am thrilled to be part of an organisation that is driving long- term positive change across the region. I look forward to joining the team, contributing to the Authority’s ambitious vision, and playing my part in delivering a meaningful impact on the lives of residents.”