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GDS director general to move on to global promotion role

Kevin Cunnington will be travelling around the world to promote government services under a newly created unit

Director general of the Government Digital Service (GDS) Kevin Cunnington will step down to lead a new government unit focused on promoting UK public services globally.

As director general of the International Government Service (IGS), Cunnington will be championing government services internationally, including the digital sector.  

“I’m looking forward to promoting the work of the UK government and exploring how the UK can provide government-to-government services, including digital, on a global stage,” he said in a statement.

Alison Pritchard, currently director for EU Exit and Transformation at the GDS, will take Cunnington’s role as an interim, while a recruitment exercise takes place to fill the role on a permanent basis.

During a GDS podcast from April, Cunnington gave some clues as to which direction his career would be heading towards.

Commenting on his three-and-a-half year stint at Vodafone, the executive said he “didn’t spend a single week” in the UK.  

He added that travelling was one of the most enjoyable parts of his job: “I am an introvert, that’s why I took up computer science, but I love the touring if I’m honest.”

Cunnington added that towards the second half of 2019, he would like to increase his support to efforts led by Cabinet Office director, Chris Ferguson, in “flying the flag for Britain overseas”.

The idea, he said, was to show why the GDS has done some of its projects and learn from others during the process, something that would make him “very happy”.

On a statement about the changes, Cunnington states his new role as a chance to build on his achievements at the GDS. Such achievements, the GDS outlined, include generating “more than £1bn of benefits through scrutinising technology spending”, a “substantial increase” in traffic to the website, and introducing voice technology to services, which he planned to “cajole” departments into rolling out in the next few years.

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