30 March 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
David Thomas has been appointed commercial director of the merged Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
This new, more senior post, replaces the respective heads at the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise, Mark Forth and Dave Mooney. Both have left the new organisation.
HMRC is Thomas's first public-sector post and he will be responsible for a procurement budget of £2 billion.
His priorities are to implement an e-procurement system, create a centralised purchasing team and make Gershon savings. He will also cut 80 posts from the merged organisation.
"There are some fairly aggressive efficiency targets to deliver as well as savings. My job is to beat the timescales and figures."
He added that both delivering efficiency savings and switching the organisation's focus to strategic work will be made much easier with the installation of a department-wide enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
This will provide purchasing with more information about what it spends and with whom, and is expected to go live from mid-April.
Thomas's other tasks include establishing a single purchasing team based in Manchester.
Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise had purchasing teams in seven locations, including Southend and Newcastle.
Thomas is no stranger to installing SAP, the ERP system the department plans to use. Most recently he oversaw its implementation at gas distribution business Wales & West Utilities, where he was chief procurement officer.
Thomas set up a complete supply chain for start-up company Wales & West in 100 days, an achievement he describes as "almost unprecedented" for a firm of its size.