Boris Johnson has approved the appointment of a government chief people officer, recruiting Fiona Ryland to the newly created post.
Ryland, currently chief operating officer and vice president at University College London, has held senior HR director roles at UCL and the contract catering group Compass, before which she held HR roles in retail companies including Comet, Dixons and Asda.
The prime minister also announced the appointment of Mike Potter as chief digital officer, who will join the Civil Service from Thames Water.
Alex Chisholm, Civil Service chief operating officer and permanent secretary for the Cabinet Office, said: “I am looking forward to welcoming Fiona and Mike to their new roles, both of which are at the centre of our current Civil Service transformation.
“As the new government chief people officer, Fiona will be leading our HR function at a time of huge change, as we work in partnership with ministers to equip our people to deliver Civil Service reform.
“Setting the standard on people issues across the Civil Service is a tremendous opportunity to focus on skills and professionalisation.”
Ryland said: “It is a real privilege to join the Civil Service in this role. I am looking forward to supporting the tremendous work that our teams deliver for people across the UK.”
Cabinet Office minister Heather Wheeler said: “After a full external search, it’s great to see the Civil Service attracting such high calibre leaders to help sharpen our focus on delivering for the British public.
“Building a more skilled and efficient Civil Service is a key priority, supported by innovative use of the best technology available – and Fiona and Mike will be at the heart of that work.”
Ryland joined UCL in 2017 as executive director of HR and became its chief operating officer in 2019, overseeing professional services teams including HR, finance, legal services, estates and IT.