Tom Scholar appointed new permanent secretary of UK Treasury

By on 14/03/2016 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Current HM Treasury permanent secretary Sir Nicholas Macpherson is leaving the civil service on 31 March.

The government official who has been leading on talks in Brussels on a new UK deal with the EU, will take over the most senior civil service job in the Treasury.

British prime minister David Cameron has appointed Tom Scholar, who advises him on European and global issues and heads up the European and Global Issues Secretariat (EGIS) in the Cabinet Office, as the next Treasury permanent secretary.

EGIS is a small, 40-strong, unit in the Cabinet Office, whose primary role it is to coordinate the collective agreement of the government’s international economic and European policy and to provide advice on these matters to the prime minister, deputy prime minister and the Cabinet Office minister for government policy.

Scholar, who has been focused on EU referendum negotiations “for a while now”, according to a Treasury spokesman, will replace Sir Nicholas Macpherson who is leaving the civil service on 31 March.

However, with the EU referendum scheduled for June, Scholar will remain in his current post until the summer with the Treasury top job due to be filled temporarily by second permanent secretary John Kingman.

Kingman had hoped to replace Macpherson permanently himself and is now said to be considering a return to the private sector, according to the Financial Times.

Commenting on his new role, Scholar said: “I am deeply honoured to have been appointed to this role and thrilled to return to the Treasury.

“It is a strong department with exceptionally talented and committed staff, and I look forward to working with them all to support the Chancellor and his team in taking forward the government’s agenda.”

Before being appointed head of EGIS in 2013, Scholar spent four years as second permanent secretary at the Treasury, before working as director-general, financial services, at the finance department for a year.

A career civil servant, Scholar joined government in 1992 as a Treasury official. He then went on to hold various roles covering economic forecasting, general expenditure policy, foreign exchange reserves and banking supervision.

He was principal private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1998 to 2001, after which he moved to Washington to become the UK’s executive director at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and minister (economic) at the British Embassy.

In 2007 Tom became chief of staff and principal private secretary at the prime minister’s office before returning to the Treasury in 2008.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “I’m delighted Tom will become our new Permanent Secretary. Tom is an outstanding civil servant, with experience of advising on some of the biggest challenges facing the country in recent years.

“It is a tribute to the British civil service that the field of candidates was so strong. Having worked closely with Tom, I know he will be a great leader of the Treasury and a worthy successor to Nick Macpherson.

“I look forward to working with him to deliver the government’s long-term economic plan, in the face of an increasingly turbulent global economy.

Cabinet Secretary and head of the civil service Jeremy Heywood said: “Nick will of course be a hard act to follow. But having worked closely with Tom for nearly two decades, I am sure that he will do a brilliant job at the Treasury.

“He is a superb adviser, with wide experience across the whole range of the Treasury’s domestic and international business; and a great person to work with, who embodies the enduring values of the Civil Service in all that he does.”

The process to recruit Scholar’s replacement will start soon.


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See also:

Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury, UK: Exclusive Interview

UK cross-government leadership group highlights departmental ‘good practice’ initatives

Interview: John Manzoni, chief executive, UK Civil Service

Stephen Lovegrove appointed new permanent secretary of the UK’s Ministry of Defence

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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