Arrivals, moves and departures

Appointments, job changes and exits among senior civil servants and key figures in the wider public service

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By Winnie Agbonlahor

10 Aug 2014

Sir John Sawers (pictured), chief of the Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 – is to step down in November after five years. Sawers was Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations before taking the MI6 job, and also spent three years as Tony Blair’s foreign policy adviser. 

Sawers’ successor will be selected by the Cabinet Office, and approved by the Foreign Office and the PM. The recruitment process will start shortly under Kim Darroch, the PM’s national security adviser.

Simon Case, the prime minister’s private secretary, will be the new head of the Cabinet Office’s Implementation Unit. He replaces Will Cavendish, who left the unit in May to join the Department of Health (DH) as director general for innovation, growth and technology. 

Case joined the civil service in 2006 after completing a PhD in Philosophy at Queen Mary University of London, becoming a policy adviser at the Ministry of Defence. He held various senior civil service posts in the Cabinet Office and the Northern Ireland Office, before becoming head of the Olympic Secretariat: a temporary cross-government team set up to oversee and manage the 2012 Games. After his year-long appointment there, he was made private secretary to the PM – a role he’s leaving after almost two years.

Vickie Sheriff (pictured), a former spokesperson for the PM, is leaving the civil service in September to join alcoholic drinks multinational Diageo as global communications director. 

Sheriff is currently the director of group communication at the Department for Transport (DfT), which she joined last year. She was head of news and deputy official spokeswoman at Number 10 Downing Street from November 2009 to March 2013, and has been a member of the Army Reserve for 18 years: she’s currently commanding officer for its Media Operations Group. She was deployed to Kuwait in 2003 and coordinated news coverage of the Iraq invasion, where, she wrote on, “providing the media with opportunities to film what was going on and information updates for hourly live broadcasts proved challenging without a phone and barely any internet access”.

Roger Witcomb has been named as chair of the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) panel set up to investigate the energy market, announced last month. Previous roles he’s held include chair of the Competition Commission, and non-executive directorships at Anglian Water and Infraco – which builds infrastructure in developing countries. 

Other members of the panel include Professor Martin Cave, a senior visiting fellow at the Civil Service College in Singapore. Cave is also a member of the French Government commission on high-speed broadband and the advisory panel to the Irish communications regulator, and used to be an economic adviser to Ofcom. 
The CMA has meanwhile announced five more senior appointments. Sharon Horwitz, a senior lawyer currently working in the legal team at Ofcom, and James Lambert, a senior economist in the competition team at law firm Ashurst LLP, will become directors of sector regulation. Colin Garland, an economist at Gatwick Airport working on airport competition, and Alistair Thompson, a CMA manager, will become directors in the Remedies, Business and Financial Analysis Group. In addition Rachel Merelie, currently the CMA’s group director for markets and delivery, has been promoted to senior director for delivery. 

NHS England CEO Simon Stevens announced several senior appointments earlier this month – including Ian Dodge, who started his new job as national director for commissioning strategy on 7 July. Now responsible for national strategy, commissioning policy and analysis, he joined the board from the Department of Health, where he was director of the NHS Group and head of the policy profession. 

Other NHS appointments include Andrew Ridley, managing director of the North and East London Commissioning Support Unit, who started a secondment as programme director for the Better Care Fund on 7 July. Here, he’s leading a small team drawn from NHS England, DH, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association.

David Harker has been appointed as chair of the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), the Department for Work and Pensions announced last month, following the departure of Partha Dasgupta. He took up his post on 14 July for a four-year term. 

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