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Rolls-Royce CIO joins HMRC as non-executive director

Caroline Baldwin

Rolls-Royce CIO Simon Ricketts has been appointed non-executive director of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Ricketts (pictured) will advise the HMRC board while continuing in his role as CIO at Rolls-Royce, where he has been since 2010. He heads up IT and business process transformation at Rolls-Royce, where he has led large and complex cross-functional transformation programmes in IT, manufacturing, logistics and customer service.

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In recent years, Rolls-Royce has moved towards a multi-sourced strategy when it comes to purchasing IT, which saw the signing of several major contracts, including HP and Capgemini.

At the time of the deal with HP, Ricketts said the contract represented the next step in the company’s journey towards “an industry-leading, multi-vendor IT ecosystem to support our current and future global business priorities”.

Rolls-Royce also chose Indian outsourcer Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to supply services in 2010.

The current government has attempted to make a move towards breaking the oligopoly of large IT suppliers

Last month, figures revealed that mid-sized IT companies were gaining ground, while IT giants saw their share of public sector investments dwindle. 

TCS was an example of this trend, being an emerging mid-sized company in the UK public sector which has recently reported big sales increases. TCS made £103m worth of sales in the public sector last year – 24% more than in 2012.

Ricketts has also held senior positions at Scottish & Newcastle, Cadbury Schweppes and British Steel. He has held the role of non-executive director at the National Savings and Investments Bank for the last seven years.

Ricketts joins the board alongside Mervyn Walker, replacing Philippa Hird and Norman Pickavance who recently left their roles. The HMRC board consists of six members of the department’s executive committee and six non-executive directors who bring an external perspective to the board’s advice.

Both Ricketts and Walker will be tasked with helping HMRC to deliver its agenda and maximise its performance.

The announcement follows a line of recent government appointments from the private sector.

Former Credit Suisse CIO Magnus Falk is taking up the position as the government’s new deputy chief technology officer (CTO) this week. Falk will join the team responsible for government technology and delivering digital services to citizens. Additionally, Jacqueline Steed, the former managing director and CIO for BT Wholesale, is due to start as chief digital officer (CDO) at the Student Loan Company (SLC) later this month.

Other recent appointments include former Electrolux CIO Ian Sayer, who joins the Ministry of Justice as CTO; former CIO of Vodafone Mark Dearnley, who is taking the role of CIO for Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC); and Kevin Cunnington, previously global head of online at Vodafone, who becomes CDO for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Mike Bracken, executive director of digital for the Cabinet Office, who himself came from The Guardian, said technology leaders who have been hired in recent months – including Sayer, Dearnley and Cunnington – are expected to work together to share experiences and lessons learned.

“The transformation of government digital services, and the technology that underpins it, is a compelling proposition. By creating an environment in which this kind of change can happen, government is now able to attract technical experts who want to do work that matters," he said.  

The Cabinet Office said it has seen 100 digital and technology experts join government departments over the past 12 months.

Led by the Government Digital Service (GDS), the recruitment has seen experts join to fill a variety of technical roles, as well as to strengthen digital leadership across Whitehall. Roles include CDOs and CTOs, as well as technical architects and developers who are working to transform government digital services for citizens.


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