Sir Jon Thompson to step down as HMRC chief executive in the autumn

By on 19/07/2019
Sir Jon said it had been a “tremendous privilege” to lead HMRC but that moving to the Financial Reporting Council was “too exciting to turn down”.

Sir Jon Thompson announced yesterday that he is to leave HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the autumn after more than three years as chief executive and first permanent secretary. He is to take on a new role as chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

“It’s been a tremendous privilege to lead HMRC for more than three years, so to leave now has not been an easy decision for me to make,” Sir Jon said. “However, to have the opportunity to lead the Financial Reporting Council, as it turns into the Audit, Governance and Reporting Authority, and to promote public trust in doing business in the UK, at a point when we’re about to forge new alliances across the world, is too exciting to turn down.”

Sir Jon joined HMRC in April 2016 and led the organisation through a period of change and what the government has described as “significant performance improvements” including record-breaking increases in the collection of tax revenues; customer service improvements; the introduction of Making Tax Digital, enabling streamlined online business tax accounting; and opening HMRC’s first regional centre with two more due to be operational by the end of this year.

Brexit cost warnings 

Sir Jon also led HMRC in preparing for the challenges of Brexit and was not afraid of telling inconvenient truths about the cost of Brexit to the Treasury committee.

As early as September 2017 he told a select committee that border and tax checks after Brexit could require an extra 5,000 staff, with new customs checks costing the taxpayer up to £800m. He also warned that the post-EU customs option preferred by Brexiters would cost up to £20bn. He revealed last year that he had subsequently received death threats from members of the public.  

Sir Mark Sedwill, cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, said Sir Jon has “shown himself to be an exceptional leader” as the chief executive and first permanent secretary at HMRC, as well as head of the government’s operational delivery profession. “During his tenure, we’ve seen year-on-year increases in the revenue collected, which critically goes into funding our public service,” he said. 

He also credited Sir Jon, who appointed a diverse and gender balanced executive committee, with diversifying the workforce.

About Mia Hunt

Mia is a journalist and editor with a background in covering commercial property, having been market reports and supplements editor at trade title Property Week and deputy editor of Shopping Centre magazine, now known as Retail Destination. She has also undertaken freelance work for several publications including the preview magazine of international trade show, MAPIC, and TES Global (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) and has produced a white paper on energy efficiency in business for E.ON. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a member of the Revo Customer Experience Committee and an ACE Awards judge. Mia graduated from Kingston University with a first-class degree in journalism and was part of the team that produced The River newspaper, which won Publication of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2010.

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