Press release

Lord Browne to stand down as government’s Lead Non-Executive Director

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Francis Maude announced today that Lord Browne of Madingley will step down from his positions by 31 January 2015.

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The Minister for Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced today that Lord Browne of Madingley, the government’s Lead Non-Executive Director and Lead Non-Executive Director for the Cabinet Office, will step down from his positions by 31 January 2015.

Lord Browne was appointed by the Prime Minister in 2010 to improve governance across Whitehall. With the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, he has led the creation of a new set of departmental boards with an enhanced role for non-executive directors from the private and not-for-profit sectors. They have transformed governance across Whitehall, bringing a more strategic and commercial focus to departmental boards, helping to equip the civil service with the new skills needed to deliver government policy, and have introduced major improvements and efficiencies to the way in which departments are run.

During his tenure as Lead Non-Executive Director, Lord Browne also authored reports on major projects and talent management in the civil service, both of which made a significant contribution to the government’s Civil Service Reform programme.

Lord Browne said:

I have enjoyed working extensively on improving governance and capability in Whitehall for the last 4 years. Francis Maude has demonstrated determined commitment to Civil Service Reform and, under his leadership Whitehall has been transformed for the better. There is much more to do, but it is now time for a new perspective on that process. I have deep admiration and respect for the work of officials in the Cabinet Office and civil service as a whole, and wish them well for the next phase of reform.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

Lord Browne has played a crucial role in sharpening the governance of departments, and establishing our programme of efficiency and reform. Last year alone this work helped save taxpayers £14.3 billion, as part of our long term economic plan, compared with spending in the year before the 2010 General Election. There’s much more to do and I am working closely with the new Chief Executive of the Civil Service to drive even greater savings for hard-working taxpayers. Working with John has been a pleasure and an inspiration, and I thank him for his extraordinary contribution to this important agenda.

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Sir Jeremy Heywood said:

Lord Browne and his team of non-executives have provided the civil service with hugely welcome expertise and wisdom from business and the voluntary sector. With their help, over the last 4 years I believe we have made real progress in addressing long-standing weaknesses in commercial, digital and project-management skills and strengthening departmental governance, management information and talent management.

John personally has played a major role in all this and has been a great personal support and source of wise counsel to me and other senior colleagues, not just in the Cabinet Office but across the civil service as a whole.

In his resignation letter, Lord Browne pays tribute to Minister of the Cabinet Office Francis Maude, praising his commitment and tenacity in driving the efficiency and reform programme, which has delivered significant savings for the Exchequer and improved the skills and accountability of the civil service.

He also pays tribute to the leadership of the civil service under Sir Jeremy Heywood and his predecessor Sir Gus O’Donnell and their teams. He writes that the civil service has demonstrated impressive professionalism, ambition and dedication.

Notes to editors

Published 18 November 2014