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Whitehall’s chief commercial officer steps down

Bill Crothers has stepped down from his position as Whitehall’s chief commercial officer today (30 July).

He is currently helping recruit his successor after deciding “that it is the right time to move to the next stage of his career”, but will continue acting as a commercial advisor in the future for ‘complex’ government deals.

Crothers oversaw the set-up of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) in April 2014 to help polish commercial skills in the government in order to get better deals from suppliers.

He said: “I’ve hugely enjoyed leading the commercial function in its set-up stage, and I’m very proud of the improvements we’ve already seen in government’s commercial capability. Now is therefore the right time for me to change role and let someone new lead the implementation of the next phase.

“Whilst people may remember the big savings numbers and the deals, what I feel most grateful for is the opportunity this role has given me to lead the development of the commercial community. I’ve always considered that the true test of leadership is to ‘leave the place’ better than when you arrived, and I hope that’s what I’ve been able to achieve in this role.”

He started his Civil Service career in the Home Office where he later became group commercial director, eventually moving on to the cabinet office as chief procurement officer. Crothers was also a Crown representative and acted as executive chairman of the new CCS.

Cabinet secretary and head of the Civil Service, Jeremy Heywood, praised his “vital” contributions to helping Civil Service “recognise the scale of the capability challenge and taking important first steps to tackle it”.

John Manzoni, chief executive of the Civil Service, said: “Bill has contributed hugely to driving commercial common sense into everything we do. His unstinting energy in assisting officials across Whitehall to reach the right commercial deal, drive maximum value for money for the taxpayer, and to build commercial skills across government, will be missed.”


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