Rupert McNeil to step down as civil service HR head

Chief people officer reveals he is set to return to the private sector in April
Rupert McNeil. Photo: Cabinet Office

By Jim Dunton

02 Feb 2022

Rupert McNeil has announced that he is to leave government after six years as chief people officer and will return to the private sector.

McNeil was group HR director for Lloyds Banking Group before he was appointed to his present role in January 2016. He currently reports directly to civil service chief operating officer and Cabinet Office permanent secretary Alex Chisholm.

As well as being responsible for delivering the Civil Service People Strategy, which sets out what the civil service needs to do to attract the most capable public-spirited people and build exemplary work practices,  McNeil is also director general for government shared services.

According to the latest civil-service high-earners list, published last week, McNeil earned between £185,000-£189,999 as of September last year.

Revealing his plans to leave the civil service on Twitter, McNeil said being chief people officer had been the “high point” of his career to date.

“I’ve learned much over these years of transformation amid the challenges of EU Exit and pandemic response and I very much value the excellence and commitment of my colleagues in all parts of government,” he said.

“As I head for my new chapter I want to say a big thank you to everyone in my CSHR team for their support and dedication.”

McNeil said he expected to leave the civil service in April to take up his new role – which he did not detail – pending approval from anti-corruption watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

He added he would be “excited” to share further information on his next move “subject to the relevant approvals” – a clear nod to Acoba’s vetting process for former ministers and senior officials looking to take up post-government appointments.

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