Debt Management Office appoints first female chief exec

Chancellor says Jessica Pulay is "held in the highest regard on the international stage"
Jessica Pulay Photo: DMO

By Tevye Markson

18 Apr 2024

The Debt Management Office has appointed a new boss to replace its long-serving chief executive Sir Robert Stheeman.

Jessica Pulay, who is currently co-head of policy and markets at the DMO and on its advisory board, will become the organisation's first female chief exec when Stheeman steps down this summer.

The DMO is an executive agency of HM Treasury, primarily responsible for debt and cash management for the UK government. Stheeman announced in September last year that he would be stepping down as chief exec after 20 years in the role.

Pulay will officially become chief exec upon Stheeman’s retirement at the end of June, but there will be a handover period “to ensure the continued smooth operation of the DMO”, the DMO and Treasury said.

Public Accounts Committee chair Dame Meg Hillier warned last month that the departure of Stheeman from the DMO was "a risk for the organisation", particularly with a number of other senior staff at the agency also approaching retirement.

But chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Treasury permanent secretary James Bowler both expressed confidence in the appointment of Pulay – who has more than 35 years of leadership experience in international debt capital markets in both the public and private sectors, specialising in government and supranational financing.

Hunt said he is “delighted" at the appointment of "a sovereign debt manager that is held in the highest regard on the international stage”.

“She brings with her over three decades worth of relevant experience, is highly regarded in the market, and the appointment provides strong continuity to a critical government function as the DMO looks to the future,” he said.

Bowler said Pulay had “managed to rise above a strong field of both public and private sector candidates to secure the role”.

“Jessica has been a key part of the DMO’s success in recent years and brings a wealth of both public and private sector experience to the job,” he added. “The DMO is rightly regarded as a leader in sovereign debt management and I am confident Jessica can lead the organisation through the challenges and opportunities that it will face in the years to come.”

Pulay joined the DMO in 2015. She said being appointed as chief exec was an “immense privilege”.

Before joining the DMO, she spent 16 years at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London where she was deputy head of funding. Earlier in her career, Pulay also held several roles in the private sector, at firms including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Hunt and Bowler also thanked Stheeman for his two decades of “excellent work” and “superb leadership”.

Stheeman has overseen the sale of more than £3.1trn of government bonds – known in Britain as gilts –since taking over the DMO in 2003. Over the next three years, Pulay will oversee gilt sales of more than £600bn.






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