Govt begins search for procurement chief

The search is on to find a replacement for Office of Government Commerce chief executive Peter Gershon, the man who was charged...

The search is on to find a replacement for Office of Government Commerce chief executive Peter Gershon, the man who was charged with saving £1bn over three years from central government procurement.

Gershon’s successor will be closely involved in the new government’s Common Systems Strategy, which aims to standardise IT across Whitehall, according to advertisements for the £140,000, three-year, fixed-term contract.

The new OGC chief will continue to preside over the government’s Gateway Review process, introduced by Gershon to impose best practice project management onto government IT programmes and will continue the drive to get better deals from IT suppliers.

Last year Gershon spearheaded the first public sector-wide software licensing deals with Microsoft, IBM/Lotus and Sun Microsystems. These were followed by deals with Oracle and Vodafone.

Bob Griffith, international secretary at the Society of IT Management said Gershon's impact spread beyond his central government brief.

"Peter Gershon has changed the culture of Whitehall," said Griffith. "The Microsoft deal was a good one because it widened the opportunities open to local government."

The OGC will make an announcement on how much hit has saved the exchequer, and is expected to say the £1bn target has been exceeded.

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