Matthew Rycroft, the UK’s permanent representative to the United Nations, has been named the new permanent secretary of the Department for International Development.
Rycroft takes over from Nick Dyer, who has been heading the department as an interim replacement following former chief Mark Lowcock’s move to head up the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in July.
Announcing the appointment, cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said Rycroft would bring a wealth of relevant experience to the job from working in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and No 10, as well as the United Nations.
“I look forward to working with him as he starts his work delivering DfID’s important mission. I would also like to thank Nick Dyer for his excellent custodianship of the department pending Matthew’s arrival in January 2018,” he said.
Rycroft first joined the civil service in the Foreign Office in 1989, initially working at the UN in Geneva and then on the NATO desk in London, as well as four years in the British Embassy in Paris.
His other roles in the FCO include working as the department’s Europe director, and serving as private secretary to the prime minister for foreign affairs, covering foreign and defence issues from 2002 to 2004.
From March 2011, Rycroft was the FCO’s chief operating officer, running the department and its network of 270 posts around the world before being named the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York in April 2015.
Rycroft said it was a huge honour to be given the opportunity to lead DfID and to support [international development secretary] Priti Patel and her ministerial team at an exciting time for the department. “I look forward to working with my new colleagues and across Whitehall: to ensure that the UK remains a world leader in the fight against poverty; to support the delivery of the global goals for sustainable development; and to tackle other global challenges,” he said.
Patel added that Rycroft's track record would bring a global perspective to the role.
“This is central to my ambition that we continue to lead the UK’s work to end extreme poverty and to build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK,” she added.
Arrangements for appointing Rycroft’s successor at the UN will be announced in due course.