After 6 years as the senior official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and since July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Sir Martin Donnelly has announced he is stepping down from his role as joint Permanent Secretary to help set up the new Department for International Trade over the coming months.
Sir Martin, who was awarded a KCB for public service and business in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours, has worked in a range of senior policy jobs in the public sector in the UK and internationally. Sir Martin’s extensive experience in Whitehall will be vital in helping to guide the Department for International Trade in its formative stages.
Alex Chisholm will become the sole Permanent Secretary for BEIS from Monday 5 September and continue to lead this new department. Formerly the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, Alex became the joint Permanent Secretary for BEIS with Sir Martin following the formation of the new department.
Sir Martin Donnelly said:
I have been extremely privileged to work with a team of civil servants at BEIS, and across Whitehall, who are inspiring in their professionalism and dedication to public service. We have supported economic development across the UK, and helped build a knowledge based economy which can compete successfully across the world.
I am looking forward to the challenge of setting up the new Department for International Trade as an effective outward looking organisation, delivering the government’s international trade and investment agenda.
Alex Chisholm said:
I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve as Permanent Secretary for BEIS, working with the ministerial team and departmental colleagues to establish the new department and deliver on the promise of a new industrial strategy.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:
I want to thank Sir Martin Donnelly for his years of service at the department, and wish him the very best in his new role. I look forward to working with Alex Chisholm as he leads the vital work of the new department in forging our industrial strategy, leading the government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable clean energy and tackling climate change.
Head of the Civil Service Sir Jeremy Heywood said:
I’m delighted with the way in which the former BIS and DECC departments are already coming together to create a new power-house department to drive the government’s new industrial strategy and the country’s long-term economic performance. Alex’s background in leading large organisations will be vital in continuing this process of bringing together the 2 sides of BEIS. And having an experienced Permanent Secretary like Martin is invaluable to help set up the Department for International Trade as it grows.
Martin’s leadership at the Department for Business has played a key role in creating more opportunities for people to succeed; through higher quality apprenticeships, more support for SMEs, shared parental leave and the work to increase women on boards. His expertise in both business and international policy-making will be crucial in helping form a new international trade agenda for the country.
Notes to editors
Martin Donnelly became joint Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and acting Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade in July 2016. Prior to that he was the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for 6 years. He will step down from his role as Joint BEIS Permanent Secretary on 5 September.
Sir Martin has held senior roles in HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, Home Office and FCO. He has also been Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and has worked in the European Commission and on secondment in the French Finance Ministry.
An open competition will shortly be announced to recruit a long-term Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Trade.
Alex Chisholm became joint Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in July 2016 shortly after taking up the role of Permanent Secretary at the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Prior to his appointment, he spent 9 years heading up high performance public agencies responsible for economic regulation and market development: the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, and Ireland’s Commission for Communications Regulation.
Previously he worked for 12 years in business, beginning in the strategy team at Pearson plc and then running a series of international businesses in the media, technology, ecommerce and retail sectors. His early career was spent in the Civil Service which he joined as a fast-streamer and then worked in a number of economic policy roles in the Department of Trade and Industry and the Office of Fair Trading.