Former private sector CEOs to help government negotiate

Adam Leach is a freelance business journalist
1 May 2013

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Negotiations between government and the private sector need more people with highly competitive market experience around the table, government CPO Bill Crothers told SM today.

Crothers said he wanted private sector companies pitching to government to send their top sales people with private sector experience – not public-sector specialists.

Crothers has also appointed six seasoned businessmen from the private sector to bolster the government on the procurement side.

The new crown representatives, which include former Balfour Beatty CEO Ian Tyler and former managing partner at Accenture James Hall, will work alongside departments on large contracts and use their combined 150 years’ experience to help do deals.

The other businessmen are Graham Jackson, previously head of commercial contracting in UK & Ireland at Compaq, David Jephson, who led the global IT function at Imperial Tobacco, serial start-up founder Michael Wade, and Freeserve founder Rob Wilmot. 

Crothers said public-sector knowledge and experience is very valuable, but so too is expertise in private sector buying and selling.

The new appointments bring the total number up to 22, joining commercial directors of government departments in the posts.

Crothers said: “You have civil service officials with deep experience of the private sector, people from within the suppliers that have deep experience of the public sector and consultants with deep experience of the public sector. What’s missing is an external stimulus from a highly competitive market.”

On the supplier side, he said he would prefer to deal with representatives who are used to tight margins, common in sectors such as retail or fast-moving consumer goods.

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