'Decisive' chief commercial officer sought for FCDO

Newly-created role will incorporate commercial strategy and activity from the FCO and DfID
Photo: FCDO

The government is offering up to £185,000 for a chief commercial officer who will “establish the direction” of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's new commercial function.

The CCO will be the most senior commercial official in the FCDO and one of the most senior commercial officials in government.

The newly-created role will incorporate the commercial strategy and activity from the Foreign Office and Department for International Development, which were combined last year to form the FCDO, according to a job advert posted this week.

“The successful candidate will be a proven leader who will have the opportunity to establish the direction of the newly formed commercial function within FCDO, to develop it to become one of the leading commercial teams in government,” the job ad says.

“This is a challenging and dynamic environment and the post holder will need to be confident in making decisions effectively and decisively,” it added.

They will be accountable for the “whole commercial life cycle”, supporting the department’s annual £3bn spend with 13,000 suppliers in 180 countries.

Their responsibilities will include setting the department’s commercial strategy; managing commercial contracts; building commercial support and strategy in a way that aligns with the FCDO’s Overseas Development Aid spending goals; and establishing “a culture of delivery, continuous improvement, efficiency and value for money”.

The successful candidate will be based in the FCDO’s commercial team, reporting to the department’s finance and corporate director general.

However, the role will officially sit within the Government Commercial Organisation, which employs senior commercial civil servants. 

The appointment is intended to support the GCO’s aim to build a strong commercial function in government, supporting wider civil service reform. 

“We are building a cadre of commercial talent in all government departments; people who can manage our commercial portfolios, who can lead our most complex and novel programmes and projects, people who have the gravitas and depth of experience to work alongside our policy and operational leaders to develop innovative commercial arrangements, whether through joint ventures, outsourcing or best-in-class contracts,” the job ad says.

Applicants for the role, which comes with a salary of between £134,640 and £185,000, must have experience of leading a large commercial function in a complex environment, and of leading leading large-scale, transformative change programmes.

They must be an “engaging leader with a clear strategic mind-set and vision and the resilience to counter challenge effectively”, who can work “constructively and empathetically” with colleagues and influence ministers and senior officials.

Applications for the job close on 25 July.

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