The PSNC has appointed Simon Dukes, a former government counter-terrorism and organised crime expert, as its new chief executive.

Dukes, who has been CEO of Cifas, a not-for-profit fraud prevention membership organisation since 2013, takes over the reins from Sue Sharpe in May next year and will assume what is largely regarded as the most difficult job in community pharmacy as the sector battles to secure its existence amid swingeing funding cuts.

With a resume that also includes time spent working for the government on defence and security policy, public affairs, media and communications strategy and cyber security, Dukes comes into the post without a pharmacy background and will need to get to grips with the issues quickly.

He oversaw the first cyber security strategy as head of cyber security at the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and sits on the board of the Home Secretary’s Joint Fraud Task Force.

“Community pharmacies perform a vital role for the citizen and I am very pleased indeed to have been selected as the new CEO for PSNC. I look forward to working with the chairman, members and PSNC team to help develop the NHS community pharmacy service for the future,” Dukes said.

Sharpe said: “I am delighted that Simon will be our new CEO. He has the experience and expertise, from outside the health sector, and will bring fresh thinking and strong leadership of the organisation, supported by the excellent team here.”