Press release

New Permanent Secretary for Defra

Clare Moriarty has been appointed as the new Permanent Secretary for Defra.

Clare Moriarty

Clare Moriarty has been appointed as the new Permanent Secretary for Defra. The current Director General at the Rail Executive in the Department for Transport was chosen following a civil service-wide competition.

Clare will take up post over the summer and will replace Defra’s current Permanent Secretary Bronwyn Hill. Her appointment has been made by the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service and approved by the Prime Minister and by Sir David Normington, the First Civil Service Commissioner.

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said:

I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Clare on her appointment as the Permanent Secretary for Defra. Her track record of leadership and delivering transformational change in the public sector make her an ideal choice for the role. I am very much looking forward to working with her.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Bronwyn again for her dedicated public service over the past three decades. She has been an exemplary public servant and I wish her all the very best for the future.

Commenting on her new role, Clare said:

I am thrilled to become Defra’s Permanent Secretary. The Department has a great role to play on issues that matter to everyone in the country, from the food that we eat to the future of the planet. I welcome the chance to work with Liz Truss and her Ministerial team on a fascinating agenda for the years ahead. I am looking forward to meeting colleagues in Defra and its partner bodies, and the many people and organisations that have an interest in the work of the Department.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to build on the work that Bronwyn has taken forward at Defra, and wish her all the best for the future. I have greatly enjoyed working with the rail industry over the last few years, and will miss the fantastic people I’ve worked with, but I know I will be leaving the Rail Executive in a strong place.

The Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, said:

I am delighted to welcome Clare to Defra. She brings a wealth of experience in delivering major projects and people leadership.

I am looking forward to working with her on unleashing the potential of food and farming, nature and the countryside, on championing the environment, and protecting us from natural threats and hazards. I am particularly excited by the opportunity for Clare to build on her experience of innovation to lead the Department’s data revolution.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Bronwyn for her leadership of the department over the last four years. She has made a massive contribution, and, on behalf of the department, I would like to wish her all the very best.


Clare is a qualified accountant and her career has encompassed leadership roles in complex policy and finance, corporate support functions and operational areas in a number of government departments including the Department of Health, the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Transport.

She was appointed Director General for Rail in January 2013. In this industry-facing role she is responsible for delivery of the Government’s objectives in relation to rail, from developing strategy through franchise procurement and management to major infrastructure projects. She is responsible for the £3bn rail budget and leads commercial relationships with a wide range of private sector partners. Clare is committed to developing a partnership approach across the rail sector, including DfT, to address the shared agenda of innovation, great customer service and value for money.

She has a long-standing interest in leadership, organisational development and change. She is Board champion for gender at DfT and supports the development of women leaders across the Civil Service.

For further information contact the Defra press office on 020 7238 6443 or 0345 0518486 out of hours.

Published 2 July 2015