High Speed Rail chief named BEIS second perm sec

DfT DG Clive Maxwell will lead the department’s delivery portfolio, earning around £160,000 a year
Maxwell has led work on HS2. Photo: PA/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

19 Oct 2022

The Department for Transport official in charge of leading work on HS2 has been appointed as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s inaugural second permanent secretary.

Clive Maxwell has been DfT's director general of high speed rail since 2017.

He will lead BEIS's delivery portfolio, “ensuring the department has the expertise and experience to deliver across a wide range of programmes, from energy support this winter to longer term investments”, it said in an announcement.

He will take home a £160,000-a-year pay package, a similar sum to his salary at DfT last year, where he earned £150-155,000, according to the department’s annual accounts.  

Maxwell said he is “excited” to play a part in the department’s “vital work supporting economic growth and reform of energy markets” and work on one of the biggest delivery portfolios in government.

He will move to BEIS in November, where he will work alongside permanent secretary Sarah Munby, who has led the department since July 2020, and advise recently appointed business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Munby said Maxwell will be a “fantastic addition” and help to ensure the department successfully delivers “one of the most challenging and diverse” portfolios in government.

As high speed rail DG, Maxwell is responsible for coordinating the delivery of HS2, one of the government’s biggest delivery programmes – experience Munby said would be "invaluable". The high speed railway line has been beset by delays and its cost has already more than tripled since it was first announced more than a decade ago, while one part of the route, in Leeds, has been scrapped.

Maxwell has held senior civil service roles across various departments since 2000, including DG for energy transformation at the now-defunct Department of Energy and Climate Change and its successor BEIS from 2014-2017; and chief executive at the Office for Fair Trading from 2012-2014.

His hire was approved by prime minister-under-pressure Liz Truss, who also appointed Rees-Mogg in her first cabinet reshuffle in September.

Since Rees-Mogg moved from the Cabinet Office to BEIS, he has brought the Brexit Opportunities brief into the department, and brought forward proposals to introduce no-fault dismissal for people earning six-figure annual salaries.

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