Press release

Sir Ian Cheshire appointed as Government Lead Non-Executive

Sir Ian Cheshire will be the next Government Lead Non-Executive, the Prime Minister has announced. Sir Ian will replace Lord Browne.

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


The Prime Minister has announced that Sir Ian Cheshire will become the government’s Lead Non-Executive, replacing Lord Browne who has held the post since it was established in 2010. Sir Ian has had a long and distinguished career in the private sector, most recently as Chief Executive of Kingfisher plc and was formerly the Lead Non-Executive Director of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Sir Ian will lead the government’s cadre of non-executives, drawn from a range of sectors including business and the voluntary sector. He will work closely with ministers, and in particular the Minister for the Cabinet Office, as well as the non-executives and senior officials. He will support the Civil Service Chief Executive to drive forward the government’s Efficiency and Reform and Civil Service Reform programmes, and to strengthen functional leadership across departments.

The non-executives were introduced to improve governance in Whitehall and sit on departmental boards which bring together ministers and senior officials. The non-executives have also helped bring a more strategic and commercial focus to departments, building stronger leadership and management skills, and helping to inject best practice from the private sector into government.

As part of his role, Sir Ian will meet with the lead non-executive board members from each department on a regular basis and ensure that the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, and the Chief Executive of the Civil Service are kept updated on the views and recommendations of the non-executive community across government. He will also be a member of the Senior Leadership Committee, which ensures that the Civil Service has the right leadership capability to deliver the government’s current and future priorities.

Sir Ian will publish a candid annual report on the progress towards transforming governance across Whitehall.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I have great pleasure in announcing that Sir Ian Cheshire will succeed Lord Browne as Government Lead Non-Executive Director. Since the creation of the enhanced board model in 2010, the Non-Executive community has made a huge contribution to their departments. I look forward to Ian continuing the ambitious programme of work which Lord Browne has led, including improving government’s handling of risk, more effective management of the Civil Service’s top talent, and making better use of non-executive expertise.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

As part of our long-term economic plan this government is reforming Whitehall, helping to save taxpayers £14.3 billion last year alone compared with spending before the 2010 general election. Thanks to their energy and dedication non-executives are becoming an ever more important part of departments’ governance.

I’m delighted that Sir Ian has accepted this important role. As an existing lead non-executive he has a good understanding of the issues faced by departments. He can now throw his impressive business experience into helping us accelerate our Civil Service Reform and Efficiency programmes, building on the strong work which Lord Browne has led to date.

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

Ian’s extensive business experience and his work as Lead Non-Executive Director at the Department for Work and Pensions makes him the ideal person to build on the excellent foundation laid by Lord Browne and ensure that departmental boards, and the non-executives as individuals continue to make an important contribution to the effectiveness of government. I am very much looking forward to working with him and continuing to strengthen governance in our departments.

Sir Ian Cheshire said:

I am delighted to take up the role of Government Lead Non-Executive. Under Lord Browne’s leadership, a strong team of non-executives has transformed the governance of Whitehall, bringing much-needed commercial and organisational expertise to departmental boards. I greatly look forward to leading this group of talented people as they continue to bring advice and challenge to Whitehall.

Sir Ian Cheshire will also take up a position as a non-executive on the Cabinet Office Board.

Notes to editors

In December, Sir Ian retired as Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher plc after 7 years in the role and 17 with the company. He remains Senior Independent Director of Whitbread plc, Chairman of the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, President of the Business Disability Forum and Chair of the advisory board of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Former roles include Chairman of the British Retail Consortium and Lead Non-Executive for the Department of Work and Pensions.

Published 28 January 2015