The new permanent chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is Paul Caldwell, who has served as interim chief executive since January this year. He succeeds Mark Grimshaw who retired in January after more than six years as chief executive.

Mr Caldwell, basic payment scheme operational delivery director at the RPA since 2016, first joined the RPA in 2001, becoming operations director in 2010.     He started his career at the old Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and worked for a time at the British Cattle Movement Service.

Clare Moriarty, Defra permanent secretary, said: “I am pleased to confirm Paul Caldwell’s appointment as permanent chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency. He has already been instrumental in improving performance, delivering over 99% of BPS 2016 payments by the end of June 2017, first as operations director and then as acting chief executive. Paul is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead and his appointment will provide important stability, working alongside the RPA’s experienced leadership team.

“I am confident Paul will continue to even improve performance, building on the Agency’s recent achievements for the benefit of our farmers and rural communities.”

Mr Caldwell commented: “I am delighted to have been appointed as chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency after being given the opportunity to lead the Agency at the start of 2017. Our work is vital to supporting our world-leading food and farming industry at such a crucial time. My commitment to improving our service to farmers remains stronger than ever. I look forward to leading the Agency, providing stability and support to this vital sector as we prepare to leave the EU.”