The top job in Whitehall has gone to the most senior civil servant in the Treasury.
Gus O’Donnell, who is permanent secretary at the Treasury, will take up the £220,000 post of cabinet secretary when the current holder, Andrew Turnbull, retires in July.
O’Donnell, 52, first joined the Treasury in 1979 and has held the post of permanent secretary since 2002.
Prime minister Tony Blair said O’Donnell had driven through real change and shown strong leadership at the Treasury and performed some of the most demanding jobs in the civil service with great skill.
“He is ideally suited to lead the civil service through the coming period of change as we move to the next level of public service delivery and reform,” Blair said.
Britain’s largest civil service union, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) called on O’Donnell to begin a progressive dialogue between civil service trade unions and senior management on the key issues of pensions, pay and job cuts.
PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said: “With massive job cuts, pensions and civil service pay in a mess we will be looking to engage in positive progressive dialogue with the new head of the civil service at the earliest opportunity to press home the viewpoints of the thousands of hardworking civil servants.
“As the civil service has become increasingly under attack and dismissed as faceless bureaucrats from politicians on all sides, we hope that the new permanent secretary will be a champion for the civil service which delivers services across the UK that we all rely on from cradle to grave.”