MoD offers £150k for 'problem-solver' finance chief

Successful candidate will work "at the heart of the MoD as the principal financial adviser for Defence"
Photo: Greg Balfour Evans/Alamy Stock Photo

By Jonathan Owen

04 Oct 2023

The Ministry of Defence has started on a mission to find a replacement for Charlie Pate, who is stepping down as director general, finance, to become the chief financial officer at the National Grid’s operations arm.

The Cabinet Office has handed a £45,000 contract to headhunters Odgers Berndtson to conduct the search for the MoD's new finance DG. It is the department’s only DG position on the defence board, and is “key adviser to and problem-solver for” the defence secretary, ministers, permanent secretaries and chiefs of defence staff, according to an advert for the SCS grade 3 role. 

The role has a salary of £149,000 and an annual pension contribution of £40,230. 

The successful candidate will be "working at the heart of the MoD as the principal financial adviser for Defence", according to the job summary

“There is an especially strong link between director general, finance and the permanent secretary, who is the MoD principal accounting officer and holds overall responsibility for the Defence budget of c.£50bn per annum,” it says.

The finance DG is responsible for “all aspects of financial management and control”and heads a team of around 900 people with a budget of approximately £70m. They are expected to provide “best-in-class financial information” and improve the MoDs’ budgeting and forecasting. Another part of the job is developing “strong relationships” with the Treasury “which will include negotiating the future Defence budget levels”.

In the candidate brief, MoD perm sec David Williams, says: “The effectiveness of the Armed Forces needs battle-winning military capability now and in the future; managing the budget to deliver this is a fundamental element of national security.” 

He adds: “The extent of this role’s agenda is exhilarating and the scale huge: the MoD has total non-current assets of £175bn, close to that of Shell and greater than any other FTSE100 company.” In his view, the “right candidate will have the chance to rapidly add significant breadth and depth to their profile to fuel their career”.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 29 October, and interviews will take place in December, in front of a panel chaired by civil service commissioner Sarah Pittam.

Other panellists will include MoD perm sec David Williams; Cat Little, Treasury second perm sec and head of the government finance function; Brian Gilvary, non-executive director at the MoD; and Madelaine McTernan, chief of defence nuclear at the MoD.

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