Craig Cooper has been appointed as Birmingham City Council's new programme director ahead of the Commonwealth Games ©Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council has appointed Craig Cooper as its new programme director for the Commonwealth Games in the English city in 2022.

Cooper has been appointed to lead the local authority's involvement in the planning, preparation and delivery of the Games, which run from July 27 to August 7 2022.

He replaces the city council's previous programme director for the Commonwealth Games Neil Carney, who left the organisation in November 2019 in order to spend more time with his children.

Carney joined the council in April 2018, just after completing his job as head of Commonwealth Games operations for Gold Coast 2018.

Cooper is joining the council from European consulting, software development and digital services company Sopra Steria, and said he was excited by his new challenge.

"Birmingham 2022 is set to be the biggest event in the city’s history and has the long-term potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for residents, improve prospects for businesses and reposition the city on the global stage," said Cooper.

“A lot of great work has been done over the last three years to get the city Games-ready, but there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, especially as we move into the next phase of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is crucial to those preparations to put in place the building blocks to secure the legacy we can undoubtedly secure from being the proud host city.

"I am excited by the challenge and look forward to getting to work on the council’s role in delivering the Games.”

Cooper, who has previous experience in working in local Government through a stint at a council in London where he served as their commercial director, is due to start his new role on May 11.

"In securing Craig’s services we have found someone with a first-rate record on project leadership," said Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council.

"The staging of the Commonwealth Games and the delivery of the legacy for the people of Birmingham is a complicated challenge, but I am sure Craig will rise to the challenge, building on the solid platform already in place.

"His wealth of knowledge and expertise from across the public and private sectors brings us a level of insight that will enhance everything we do on the road to Birmingham 2022 and beyond."