This announcement has been in the pipeline (ahem) for over a month, I’m told. Could it have anything to do with the fact that hiring the former chief executive of BP as a government adviser could be unpopular – given the environmental disaster befalling the Gulf of Mexico?
Lord Browne was a somewhat controversial figure even before BP’s current nightmares.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced that Lord Browne of Madingley will become the Government’s lead Non-Executive Director. In this important new role, one of his first tasks will be to work with Secretaries of State to appoint Non-Executive Directors to the board of each government department. He will also work closely with the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, on overhauling how departmental boards are run and improving governance across Whitehall.
Lord Browne, the former Chief Executive of BP, will serve as lead non-executive on the Cabinet Office board, chaired by Francis Maude.
Francis Maude said: “The appointment of Non-Executive Directors will galvanise departmental boards as forums where political and official leadership is brought together to drive up performance. It’s great news for the Government and taxpayer that Lord Browne has accepted this powerful role. His experience will be a real benefit in our drive to make Whitehall work in a more businesslike manner and I am looking forward to working with him to implement our vital reform programme.”
Lord Browne of Madingley said: “This is a role within Government but also independent of it. Its purpose is to assist in the delivery of policy using relevant experience from business. There is a great need for the best of the business community to be involved during these challenging times for the UK. In addition, today the Cabinet Office published the updated protocol for departmental boards. It sets out in outline how boards, which are chaired by their Secretaries of State, are expected to operate.”