The Welsh Government has named diplomat Shan Morgan as successor to its outgoing permanent secretary, Sir Derek Jones.
Morgan is currently second in command at the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels. Before taking up the post in 2012 she spent four years as British Ambassador to Argentina and Paraguay.
Her appointment will mean that five of the highest-level civil service roles are now held by women, with the Welsh Government joining its Scottish counterpart, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in having a female perm sec.
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Despite representing a 25% increase, the figure is still significantly short of 2011’s high point of eight female permanent secretaries. Earlier this year, Scottish Government permanent secretary Leslie Evans told CSW the gender balance of perm secs was “disappointing”.
Announcing Morgan’s appointment, first minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said he believed her diplomatic background would complement the domestic focus of the perm sec role.
He said: “While delivery on the big issues that make a difference to people’s everyday lives remains the key focus of this government, Shan’s significant experience in the Diplomatic Service and in Brussels will also be a vital asset as we push to get the best possible deal for Wales during and after the UK’s exit from the European Union.”
Morgan’s appointment was made at the recommendation of a selection panel that included civil service head and cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and was chaired by interim first civil service commissioner Kathryn Bishop.
The Welsh Government said Morgan's appointment would come with a base salary of £160,000. It added that she was due to start in post in the “early New Year”, but that an exact date for Sir Derek to step down had yet to be finalised.
Both first minister Jones and Sir Jeremy paid tribute to Sir Derek, who has been the Welsh Government’s permanent secretary for the past four years.