Bill Crothers to become UK government chief commercial officer

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
2 September 2014

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3 September 2014 | Will Green

Government CPO Bill Crothers is to step down as chairman of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to become the UK government chief commercial officer.

The Cabinet Office (CO) said he was “reverting to his primary role of leading the commercial function across Whitehall” and his job title will change “in recognition of the broader scope” of the role.

“His priority areas will include strengthening commercial capability throughout the civil service, improving the management of complex contracts and ensuring the government acts as a responsible, intelligent and experienced client,” said the CO.

Crothers is being replaced by Ed Smith, former chief operating officer at PwC Global Assurance, who today becomes non-executive chairman of the CCS.

“Smith brings with him a wealth of business experience having spent over 30 years at PwC, and he also has significant non-executive experience, including with the Department for Transport and as deputy chair of NHS England,” said the CO.

In other changes David Wakefield, a chartered management accountant, has been appointed to the role of non-executive director at the CCS to chair its audit committee, and Lawrence Christensen, former supply chain director at Sainsbury’s, has become a crown representative.

Crothers said: “Attracting private sector experience of this calibre is vital in helping us not only to manage and negotiate with our biggest suppliers but also to continue to improve the commercial skills of the civil service. We have made improvements in contract management and upskilling across government, though there is much more to do.”

CO minister Francis Maude said: “We are taking steps to improve commercial capability in the civil service, and these appointments will add to our successful efforts to drive down the cost of government.”

The shake-up follows the announcement by Stephen Kelly, chief operating officer at the CO, that he will step down in November.

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