Press release

UK leaders appointed to support Whitehall’s transformation

Senior and experienced leaders from across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors have been appointed to Whitehall Boards.

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

Some of the most senior and experienced leaders from across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors have been appointed as Non-Executive Board Members (NEBMs) to Whitehall Boards.

This will build on the work led by the Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude to make government operate in a more business-like manner. 

This first tranche of Lead Non-Executive Board Members and Non-Executive Board Members have all been selected for their experience in improving performance across a wide range of industries. They will play a key role in shaking up governance across Whitehall and ensuring the right strategic leadership is in place so departments can meet the government’s challenging reform programme.

Non-Executive Board Members

  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Andrew Witty, Julia King, Brian Woods-Scawen
  • Cabinet Office: Lord Browne, Ian Davis, Rona Fairhead, Dame Barbara Stocking
  • Communities and Local Government: Sara Weller, Stephen Hay
  • Department for Culture, Media and Sport: David Verey,
  • Department for Education: Anthony Salz, John Nash, Theodore Agnew, Sue John
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Iain Ferguson
  • Home Office: Val Gooding, Philip Augar
  • Department for International Development: Vivienne Cox, Doreen Langston
  • Ministry of Justice: Jim Leng, Dame Sue Street, Anne Bulford, David MacLeod
  • Department for Transport: Sam Laidlaw, Sally Davis, Ed Smith, Alan Cook
  • HM Treasury: Baroness Hogg, Dame Deirdre Hutton, Sir Callum McCarthy, Michael O’Higgins 

Andrew Witty, Lord Browne, Sara Weller, David Verey, Anthony Salz, Iain Ferguson, Val Gooding, Vivienne Cox, Jim Leng, Sam Laidlaw and Baroness Hogg are the Lead Non-Executive Board Members.  

Julia King, Lord Browne, Stephen Hay, Philip Augar, Doreen Langston, Anne Bulford, David MacLeod, Sally Davis, Ed Smith, Alan Cook, Dame Deirdre Hutton, Sir Callum McCarthy, Michael O’Higgins are incumbents who have been invited to continue their existing non-executive appointment on the new board. 

The list includes individuals who have been specifically chosen from a variety of sectors to bring a diversity of views to government.  Examples include: Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline; Sara Weller, Chief Executive of Argos; and Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam. In addition, of the 31 board members being announced today, 13 (42%) are women.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

We are doing everything we can to ensure that the centre of government operates as efficiently as possible and information released today shows that new efficiency measures have already saved over £1bn. Today’s names include business heavyweights with huge experience of financial management and improving operational performance and they will play a key role in helping departments rise to the challenge and deliver further savings.  Previously, we have paid millions of pounds to consultants for this kind of advice.

We want to see policy making and delivery working much more closely together and expect the Non-Executive Board Members to play a central role in challenging departments to deliver the government’s objectives in a timely and cost-effective way. Ministers will find their involvement are vital support in ensuring policy can be delivered effectively.

We are very grateful to Lord Browne for all the effort he has made in working with Secretaries of State to make today’s appointments. The scale of this exercise, and the high calibre appointments, meant it was similar to making appointments to FTSE 100 boards from scratch and getting it right takes time.

Lord Browne, who was appointed earlier in the year to serve as the Government’s Lead Non-executive Board Member, said:

By appointing world-class leaders from outside government to Whitehall’s departmental boards we have taken an important step forward in realising the government’s reform agenda. Drawing on their experience, knowledge and expertise, the Non-Executive Board Members will play a principal role in bringing a more business-like ethos to the very heart of government. I would like to thank them for dedicating their time and effort to help deliver greater value from our public services. This is a challenge we are excited to be tackling together.

The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell said:

Between them, these Non-Executive Board Members represent the very best and brightest from the commercial sector, as well as having a wealth of experience from the public and not-for-profit sectors and I welcome them all to their posts. In just a few months the government has moved efficiency right to the very top of the agenda and these appointees will be a real asset to Permanent Secretaries, who are working to deliver these ambitious reforms.

The first board meetings are expected to take place in January 2011 and as members of the new Departmental Boards, Non-Executive Board Members will help steer responsibility for the strategic and operational leadership of the department and for agreeing the department’s three year rolling business plan.

They will also provide advice and support to ministers and civil servants, challenge discussions and discuss any performance issues with Lord Browne and the Prime Minister.

The remaining list of Non-Executive Board Members will be published in the New Year and it is expected this process will be completed by the end of the first quarter. The appointments are an important part of the government’s reform programme and it is important to take the time to ensure each department has the right strategic leadership in place.

Each departmental board will include 3 or 4 Non-Executive Board Members and the protocol for the enhanced boards has also been published today.

Notes to editors

Role and key responsibilities of Non-Executive Board Members

Non-Executive Board Members, appointed by the Secretary of State, will be experts from outside government. They will come primarily from the commercial private sector, with experience of managing complex organisations.

They will exercise their role through influence and advice, supporting as well as challenging the executive. They will advise on performance (including agreeing key performance indicators), operational issues (including the operational/delivery implications of policy proposals), and on the effective management of the department. They will also provide support, guidance and challenge on the progress and implementation of the business plan, and be involved in recruiting, appraising and ensuring appropriate succession planning of senior executives. They will form committees responsible for audit, risk and remuneration. To share best practice and to ensure departments learn from the successes and failures of comparable organisations, they will meet regularly with other non-executives across government and the government Lead Non-Executive Board Member.

The new protocol for enhanced departmental boards has been published.  

The MoD is currently carrying out a root-and-branch review of the entire department, which will include consideration of governance and Board Structure. NEBMs for the MoD will be announced once this review is complete. The Secretary of State for Defence has agreed with Francis Maude and Lord Browne that the new structure should be put in place in the first quarter of next year. 

The Efficiency and Reform Board is chaired jointly by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister for the Cabinet Office.  

Non-Executive Board Members (NEBMs) will be offered an honorarium of £15,000 a year in line with the Bank of England Non-Executive Directors of Court.  The role of Lead NEBM and the role of the Chairman of the Audit Committee will each attract an additional £5,000 a year.  Individuals may waive all or part of their fee.

Lord Browne, Government Lead Non-executive Director

In June, Lord Browne of Madingley, the former Chief Executive of BP was appointed to the post of Government Lead Non-Executive Director and lead Non-Executive director board member on the Cabinet Office board, chaired by Francis Maude.  Since his appointment, he has worked with Secretaries of State to appoint today’s Non-Executive Directors to the board of each government department.

Lord Browne will be unpaid in his role as Government Lead Non-executive Director.

Lord John Browne of Madingley was born in 1948.  He joined BP in 1966 as a university apprentice.  He holds a degree in Physics from Cambridge University and a MS Business from Stanford University, California.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.  He has numerous honorary degrees, fellowships and awards. He joined the Board of BP in 1992 and became its Group Chief Executive in 1995 until 2007.  He has been the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Apax Partners LLC (2006-7), non-executive director of Intel (1997-2006), DaimlerChrysler AG (1996-2001), Goldman Sachs (1997-2007 ) and SmithKline Beecham (1996-1999). He was voted Most Admired CEO by Management Today from 1999-2002. He was knighted in 1998 and made a life peer in 2001. 

He is presently a Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings LLC, a company which invests in renewable and conventional energy.  He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Tate, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Chairman of the advisory board of the Cambridge Judge Business School, and a member of a variety of advisory boards.

Published 16 December 2010