DfT names second permanent secretary

DG Gareth Davies to take on role, which includes overseeing the decarbonisation of transport
The Department for Transport offices. Photo by David Pearson/Flickr

By Tevye Markson

15 Dec 2021

The Department for Transport has announced its new second permanent secretary, appointing current director general Gareth Davies to the role.

In the newly established role, Davies will oversee “a number of high-profile areas” in the department, including decarbonising transport.

Davies will take on leadership for around a third of the department in the £160k-per-year job, supporting perm sec Bernadette Kelly.

Kelly said: “Gareth’s appointment as second permanent secretary is great news for the department.

“He has demonstrated outstanding skills in leading DfT’s international and operational work over the past couple of years and played a central part in mobilising our response to the pandemic.

“In this new role, he will bring real momentum and energy to our work on the big strategic challenges facing transport in the coming decades.”

Davies will be responsible for driving the department’s work to decarbonise all modes of transport by 2050 and coordinating its contribution to the government’s levelling-up agenda.

He will also help to lead work on aviation, maritime, security, international transport, science and analysis – and oversee a range of arm’s-length bodies, including the Civil Aviation Authority and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Before joining DfT in 2019, Davies was a director general in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Davies was responsible for securing business investment, managing distressed corporate situations and £9bn of public funding for science and research.

He also led the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and was a private secretary in Downing Street.

Davies said: “I’m very proud to be appointed second permanent secretary at the DfT. We have amazing teams who have been working tirelessly to keep the country moving throughout the pandemic.

“I’m looking forward to leading our work to decarbonise and improve transport for the travelling public.”

His appointment was announced by the permanent secretary yesterday after getting approval from the prime minister.

Secretary of state for transport Grant Schapps said: “I am delighted Gareth Davies has been appointed as DfT’s second permanent secretary. He brings a wealth of experience from across government and the private sector. 

“I look forward to working with Gareth on the key challenges for transport including decarbonisation, levelling up and ensuring transport is delivering for the travelling public every day.”

Prior to joining the civil service, Davies worked for AIA, a Hong Kong-based life insurance company.

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