UK’s £200bn infra plan architect joins KPMG

James Stewart, who as chief executive of Infrastructure UK drew up the UK’s £200bn National Infrastructure Plan, has joined financial services firm KPMG as chairman of its global infrastructure practice.

James Stewart has joined KPMG as chairman of its global infrastructure practice and will commence his new role in the spring, though no precise date has yet been given.

Stewart succeeds current chairman Tim Stone, who is retiring from the role but will remain “an active member of KPMG’s leadership team” according to a statement from KPMG. Nick Chism remains global head of infrastructure at the firm.

For ten years, Stewart headed up Partnerships UK, which promoted public-private partnerships in the UK, before joining the Treasury’s Infrastructure UK unit as chief executive in January 2010. Infrastructure UK advises the UK government on its long-term infrastructure needs and provides commercial expertise in support of infrastructure projects and programmes.

During his stint at Infrastructure UK, Stewart oversaw the publication of the UK’s £200 billion (€227 billion; $317 billion) National Infrastructure Plan.

Despite the government’s plans to cut £81 billion of spending over the next four years in order to help address its budget deficit, the Plan led many to conclude that infrastructure had been spared. It called, for example, for £30 billion of transport spending over the next four years, including on a high-speed rail network, a London underground upgrade and a green investment bank.

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hortly after the announcement of Stewart’s pending departure in December last year, Infrastructure UK produced a report into why infrastructure was more expensive to build in the UK than elsewhere in Europe and recommended various ways of bringing down costs by 15 percent.

“James has been the face of UK infrastructure, in the UK and internationally, for the last 10 years,” said Chism in a statement.