Prerana Issar has been appointed as chief people officer, a new role that is part of the NHS executive group – a team of leaders that will represent NHS England and NHS Improvement at a national level.
Her remit includes making sure that NHS England is adequately staffed with people holding the right skills and experience.
Ms Issar was the United Nations chief human resources officer for the World Food Programme (WFP) for four years. She is currently director for public-private partnerships at the WFP, a role she has held for the past two years.
She also worked at Unilever for over 15 years, with her last role in the company being vice-president HR for the global foods business.
As part of her new role, Ms Issar will lead on the development of the workforce implementation plan, steering the NHS towards a more diverse workforce.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Issar said: ‘I’m looking forward to working closely with colleagues, staff groups and trades unions to help develop a coherent and forward-thinking approach across the NHS, as well as with local leaders to help secure the workforce they require to meet the specific needs of local people, now and into the future.’
NHS England and NHS Improvement said Ms Issar is a ‘passionate and committed advocate for diversity at all levels and all jobs’, a passion that she also applies to ‘people-related decisions, policies and processes’.
NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton said: ‘Prerana has a track record of delivering real change in complex settings and I have already been struck by the passion she shows for tackling the NHS’s workforce challenges.’
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘There is now wide recognition that support for our workforce is now one of the top issues facing the NHS. Prerana will bring truly global experience and demonstrable passion to this important new role.’