Sir Nick Macpherson's successor as the most senior civil servant at the Treasury will be announced "in the next week or two", cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has confirmed.
Macpherson is the longest-serving of Whitehall's current crop of permanent secretaries, having been the top official at the Treasury since 2005. During that time, he has worked under three chancellors, Labour's Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, and the Conservative current incumbent George Osborne. But he will leave the civil service on March 31 and the Treasury has said it wants to have a successor in place by the start of April.
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Speaking to MPs on the Public Accounts Committee on Monday, Macpherson confirmed that Heywood was "interviewing some of the candidates this week", and while he joked that perm sec appointments could often "go into a black hole for many months", he would be "slightly disappointed if we get through next week without an announcement being made".
That was confirmed by Heywood, with the cabinet secretary telling the committee: "We are interviewing this week. Our recommendations will go to ministers at the end of the week probably, and hopefully we'll get a decision in the next week or two."
Heywood also stressed his desire to avoid a leadership vacuum at the top of the Treasury, saying: "I don't really want to have a situation where Nick leaves the Treasury without a successor in place. I think that would be a mistake."