Incoming DIT perm sec Antonia Romeo seeks "exceptional" chief operating officer to bolster top team

Written by Civil Service World on 20 February 2017 in News

COO, who can expect to earn up to £140,000, set to take a lead on new Brexit-focused department's HR, finance and estates strategy

The Department for International Trade is on the lookout for an "exceptional and highly motivated" new chief operating officer to handle the day-to-day running of the ministry and head up spending negotiations with the Treasury.

The DIT was created in last year's Brexit-focused shake-up of government departments, and will soon come under the leadership of Antonia Romeo, the UK's consul-general in New York who is set to take over as permanent secretary at the end of next month.

The department has been tasked with drawing up a new trade and investment policy for the UK, and striking new deals with the rest of the world once once Britain quits the EU.

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The new COO for the department will work at director-general level, sit on the DIT's executive board and lead work on HR, financial and systems management at an organisation with a £400m-a-year budget and almost 3,000 staff.

Introducing the "challenging, high profile" new role, which will command a salary of up to £140,000, Romeo said the successful candidate would work alongside her and be responsible for "a large portfolio with accountability for the full range of corporate services" to ensure the department "delivers to a world class standard".

"To be successful in this post you will be have a strong track record of leading performance and service delivery in a complex organisation," Romeo wrote in the job specification.

"You will have astute business awareness and an ability to implement large scale transformation in an operational context. A visible leader, you will be able to motivate and develop your teams to create a high performing, inclusive culture."

The new DIT operations chief will also be expected to work with organisations including the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office, the specification said, with overall responsibility for the department's estate strategy, risk and resource management, and hiring policies.

The successful candidate will also handle negotiations with the Treasury at "major fiscal events" such as Budgets and Spending Reviews, while the ad makes clear that financial astuteness will  also be highly prized among candidates, with the department stating a preference for candidates with a CCAB or equivalent finance qualification, 

Those who make it through to interview stage of the selection process will face a panel including Romeo, the DIT's HR and organisational development director James Norton, the Ministry of Justice's own COO Matthew Coats, and Karen Pierce, COO for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Candidates have until March 8 to put their names forward, with final interviews taking place towards the end of April.

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