The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has appointed James Davies, co-founder and former chief operating officer of online pharmacy Zava, as its new director for England.

Dr Davies will begin the role in January 2023, where he will lead on national policy development, professional advocacy and member engagement across England, in partnership with the English Pharmacy Board.

The appointment comes after Ravi Sharma announced he was leaving the director for England post in July to become head of pharmacy for Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (LDH), part of the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) group.

Dr Davies holds a PhD from University College London, where he explored how future business and professional models of community pharmacy are likely to be structured, and has worked across hospital and community practice.

While training as a pharmacist, he was president of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) and a member of the RPSGB Education committee, and has represented pharmacy owners as policy and planning manager at the Company Chemists’ Association.

Dr Davies said that it was ‘a privilege’ to take on the RPS director for England role.

He said: ‘I’ve always been passionate about the pharmacy profession, from my student days as the BPSA President, through to my academic work that’s driven forward pharmacy practice and more recently delivering innovative digital solutions in healthcare. I am looking forward to working with members to continue to deliver an exciting future for pharmacy.’

RPS CEO Paul Bennett that he was ‘delighted’ that Dr Davies was joining the RPS team. ‘James brings with him significant experience across many sectors of the profession, including community, hospital, and academic posts. James will help us to further build our capacity and capability to deliver our mission,’ he added.

English pharmacy board chair, Thorrun Govind said that Dr Davies’ background in academia, policy and business gave him the ability to ‘speak with authority’ about how pharmacists improve patient care, backed up by science.

She said: ‘James is exactly the right person to lead and develop evidence-based opportunities for the profession, to improve the lives of patients and the public and I am delighted we will be working together on this.’