Alex Chisholm appointed new permanent secretary of UK’s energy department

By on 10/05/2016 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Alex Chisholm (pictured), is currently chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and will become permanent secretary of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on 4 July.

Competition watchdog chief Alex Chisholm has today been appointed the new permanent secretary in charge of Britain’s energy department.

Alex Chisholm, chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), will become permanent secretary of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on 4 July when current DECC chief Stephen Lovegrove moves across to lead the Ministry of Defence.

Chisholm has led the CMA since its inception in shadow form in March 2013, before it became fully operational as the UK’s national competition and consumer agency responsible for merger control, market investigations and enforcement of competition and consumer law, in April 2014.

Formerly, Chisholm served as chair and commissioner of Ireland’s communications regulatory agency, ComReg – the statutory body responsible for economic regulation of the telecommunications, radio communications, broadcasting transmission, and postal industries in Ireland.

He first joined the civil service as a fast streamer at the Office of Fair Trading after which he moved to the former Department of Trade and Industry.

He left government to pursue a career in the private sector working for firms including Pearson plc and the Financial Times Group, and returned to public sector work in 2007 when he joined ComReg as commissioner.

He said: “I am delighted to be joining DECC at this important time for energy and climate change policy.

“I look forward to working with the department’s ministers and officials, and getting to grips with the many different challenges involved in ensuring the UK has secure, affordable and clean energy supplies.

“It has been a great personal and professional privilege to lead the CMA in its formative period.

“I am proud of the CMA’s record in undertaking major market investigations into energy, retail banking, motor insurance, payday loans and private healthcare, handling over 150 enforcement, merger and advocacy cases, and adjudicating regulatory appeals in the electricity, telecoms and water sectors, in total delivering direct consumer benefits in excess of £1bn.
“While I am sad to be leaving so many good friends and colleagues, the CMA is in good shape and I am sure will continue to deliver successfully on its important public mission.”

Energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd said: “I greatly look forward to welcoming Alex as DECC’s new permanent secretary.

“His experience across the public and private sectors, including most recently at the CMA, will be hugely valuable to our department.

“This is an important time for DECC as we work to deliver the secure, affordable and clean energy our families and businesses can rely on now and in the future.

“Alex’s leadership will be vital as we continue our drive to improve the energy market, reduce people’s bills and build an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century.”

Cabinet secretary and head of the civil service Sir Jeremy Heywood said: “I would like to congratulate Alex on his appointment to DECC.

“He has done an excellent job leading the CMA over the last three years and will bring a wealth of commercial experience, a good understanding of the energy market and a strong track record of leadership to the permanent secretary role. I am very much looking forward to working with him.”


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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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