Simon Fraser is to step down as the Foreign Office’s permanent secretary after five years in the job, it has been announced.
Fraser, who was appointed FCO perm sec in 2010, will leave the civil service at the end of July. In a statement issued by the department this morning, Fraser said it had been a “tremendous honour” to lead the FCO during “five exciting and demanding years”.
He added: “I feel that this is the right time to stand down and to allow someone else to guide the organisation through the coming phase under the next government.
Perm Sec Round-Up: Sir Simon Fraser, 2014
Interview: Simon Fraser
Perm secs given November deadline for action on diversity
“I pay tribute to the dedicated and skilled staff of the FCO who give such outstanding service to our country every day in all corners of the world.”
Cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood hailed Fraser as a “great, reforming civil service leader”, praising both his time at the FCO and an earlier stint as perm sec at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Heywood added: “He has taken the FCO to new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and openness and will leave a lasting legacy of diplomatic excellence and a much stronger commercial orientation. I would like to thank him for his outstanding contribution.”
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Fraser would leave the FCO “in good shape for his successor, ready to face the future with confidence”.
Although the FCO confirmed that Fraser would be leaving Whitehall, they would not comment on Fraser’s post-civil service plans when asked by CSW this morning. The department said a successor would be chosen after the general election.
Fraser's departure will also leave vacant the position of civil service Diversity Champion, a role he was handed last March, and which culminated in the launch last month of a new Talent Action Plan to try and improve Whitehall’s record on diversity.