Press release

New Permanent Secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions

The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell, is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Devereux.

The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell, is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Devereux as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions in succession to Sir Leigh Lewis who will be retiring at the end of December. The appointment has been approved by the Prime Minister and by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith.

Mr Devereux will take up his post at the start of January 2011.

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, said:

I am delighted that Robert Devereux has been appointed as the new Permanent Secretary at DWP. He has considerable experience throughout Whitehall which will be vital in helping the Department to deliver its plans to reform the welfare state.

I would like personally to thank Sir Leigh Lewis for his work in helping the Department to meet the considerable challenges of the last five years. He has made an enormous contribution to the Civil Service throughout his many years at the Department and its predecessors.

Commenting on his appointment, Robert Devereux said:

I am delighted to be returning to DWP, to lead the Department at such an important time for welfare and pension reform. I have learned a great deal from my experience, and enjoyed working with excellent colleagues, at the Department for Transport over the last eight years, and look forward to the challenges ahead.

Sir Leigh Lewis said:

I welcome Robert’s appointment and am certain that he is the right person to help the Department deliver our ambitious programme of welfare and pension reform in the coming years.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead the Department for the last five years and I know that its staff will support Robert in the way they have supported me.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith said:

I am looking forward to working with Robert as we deliver reform across welfare, work and pensions. His experience at the Department for Transport in working with large projects across the UK will be invaluable.

I would also like to thank Sir Leigh Lewis for all the support and advice that he has given to me and my Ministerial team since I arrived in the Department in May. He has helped make the transition to the Coalition Government a smooth one both for the Ministerial Team and the Department and I am sorry that he is leaving us. His contribution to the Department has been considerable and I wish him well in the future.

Notes to Editors

Robert Devereux began his Civil Service career in 1979, with a degree in mathematics from St Johns College, Oxford.  He began working with the Overseas Development Administration and during his career has held posts in HM Treasury, the Department for Social Security, the Department for Work and Pensions, as well as a secondment to Guinness Brewing Worldwide.

He joined the Department for Transport in 2003 and took over as Permanent Secretary in May 2007.  He became Head of the Policy Profession for the Civil Service in April 2009.

Robert is married with two daughters, and lives in Kilburn, London.

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