DIT seeks £145k chief operating officer despite looming demise

Applicants are warned the role will be located in Department for Business and Trade after machinery of government changes
The Department for International Trade's Old Admiralty Building headquarters Photo: Andrew Milligan sumo via Flickr

By Jim Dunton

24 Feb 2023

The Department for International Trade is pressing ahead with recruitment for a £145,000-a-year chief operating officer even though the department is soon to pass into the history books following this month’s machinery of government changes.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak’s departmental rejig, announced on 7 February, is breaking up the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and creating a new Department for Business and Trade that will merge BEIS’s business-focused functions with DIT’s operations.

DIT’s recruitment for a new chief operating officer follows the departure of Catherine Vaughan to the Department for Work and Pensions, where she is now finance director.

The job advertisement for Vaughan’s replacement acknowledges the machinery of government changes. It says the successful applicant will be working for the new department and offers the potential to be based in either Darlington or London.

DIT perm sec Gareth Davies – who will be in charge of the new department – said it was an “exciting time” to join the organisation.

“We have been created by the prime minister to support businesses to invest, grow and export to create jobs and opportunities across the country,” he said in the application pack for the COO recruitment campaign.

“Our people are based across the UK and in over 100 countries around the world. We deliver through our 26 partner organisations including the Competition and Markets Authority, British Business Bank and the Trade Remedies Authority.

“We are the bridge between business and government, which is reflected in the skills and expertise of our people.”

The COO will be principal adviser to Davies in his role as accounting officer responsible for the department's overall spending, as well as on key regulatory and propriety issues.

They will also sponsor the department’s contribution to the Places for Growth programme, which is relocating civil service roles away from the capital to the regions and devolved nations and which has just hit its halfway milestone.

Key attributes required of applicants include “visible and engaging leadership” that can motivate a senior team to deliver a complex programme of work at pace and a track record of driving efficiencies through digital transformation.

The senior civil service pay band 3 role is open to applications until 11.55pm on 8 March.

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