Mark Russell, chief executive of UK Government Investments, is to leave the post to chair the Ministry of Defence’s buying agency Defence Equipment & Support.
Russell, who has been head of the Shareholder Executive and its successor body UKGI (formed in 2016) since April 2013, will work with DE&S chief executive Sir Simon Bollom to provide strategic leadership and will be accountable to MoD ministers for the organisation’s work. He will take over as chair of the agency, which has more than 12,500 civilian and military staff responsible for a range of complex military procurement programmes, in November.
MoD permanent secretary Sir Stephen Lovegrove said he was delighted to welcome Russell to the role.
Announcing the appointment, Lovegrove said: “He has extensive experience across both the private sector and government and I look forward to working with him on equipping Defence to meet the threats of today and in the future.”
As head of UKGI, Russell has led the government’s centre of excellence for corporate finance and corporate governance. There he has overseen the government’s ownership of and investments in 27 businesses including majority-owned banks, Channel 4 and Ordnance Survey. He joined the then-Shareholder Executive as head of its corporate finance practice in November 2004 and was appointed deputy chief executive in April 2008.
Prior to joining government, he worked for accounting firms including KPMG and PwC.
Russell said: “I am greatly looking forward to working with the DE&S team, and with MoD colleagues, to continue the important work of maximising value and efficiencies across defence and in partnering more effectively with private-sector suppliers."