Bronwyn Hill to step down as Defra permanent secretary

Cabinet Office announces that Hill – Defra's perm sec since 2011 – will be succeeded by the DfT's Clare Moriarty


By Civil Service World

02 Jul 2015

Bronwyn Hill is stepping down as permanent secretary at the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), it has been announced.

In a statement issued this morning, the Cabinet Office confirmed that Hill, who has served as Defra's most senior official for more than four years, will be succeeded in the summer by Clare Moriarty, the current director general at the Department for Transport's (DfT) Rail Executive. Moriarty's appointment follows a civil service-wide competition to find Hill's replacement.

Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood paid tribute to Hill for what he called her "dedicated public service over the past three decades". 


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"She has been an exemplary public servant and I wish her all the very best for the future," he added.

Moriarty, who is a qualified accountant with experience in the Department of Health, the Ministry of Justice, and the DfT, said she was "thrilled" to be taking over at Defra.

"The department has a great role to play on issues that matter to everyone in the country, from the food that we eat to the future of the planet," Moriarty added.

"I welcome the chance to work with [environment secretary] Liz Truss and her ministerial team on a fascinating agenda for the years ahead. 

"I am looking forward to meeting colleagues in Defra and its partner bodies, and the many people and organisations that have an interest in the work of the department."

Moriarty's appointment comes on the same day as Heywood announced the departure of Ministry of Justice permanent secretary Ursula Brennan, who is retiring from Whitehall and will be replaced by Richard Heaton, currently the top official at the Cabinet Office.

Heaton's perm sec job at the Cabinet Office will be now be taken on by the civil service's chief executive John Manzoni, who will also continue in his existing role.

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