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Switching Sectors: Leaders who have made the move between the private and public sectors

3 min read

While the UK Government continues to work towards more private business leaders moving into the public sector, our Practice Heads sit down with several leaders who have made the move and discuss their motivations and experiences.

The UK Government’s Talent Attraction Ambition focuses on porosity; the way that high-calibre business leaders can transfer their skills and experience across to civil service roles to greatly benefit the public sector, and the people. 

Join Lucy Harding, Jes Ladva, Rebecca Royle and Anna Dickinson as they speak with a range of high-profile leaders who have made that move between sectors. We aim to explore the motivations for making the move, the challenges and learning curves they’ve experienced and also what in their view are the ‘pull’ factors for considering a career move into the public sector.

View the interviews below, and look out for more coming soon.

In this episode: Sir John Manzoni, AWE & SEE PLC Chair, Civil Service Chief Executive & Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary (until 2020).

Sir John Manzoni made the switch to the public sector, initially to lead the Major Projects Authority with the Cabinet Office and after 6 months, moved into the role of C


Sir John speaks with Jes Ladva about the differences in difficulty, complexity and importance of his public service roles as compared to running a private business, and how experience from a private business background can complement the intellect and intricacies of policy making and implementation.

In this episode: Nick Reed, Chief Road Safety Advisor for National Highways

Nick Reed spent 13 years at the Transport Research Laboratory, latterly as TRL Academy Director. He then moved to Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier, as Head of Mobility before making the switch to the public sector to become the government’s first Chief Road Safety Advisor at National Highways

Nick speaks with Becky Royle, Head of Central Government and Housing Practice UK, about his role, what motivated him to make the switch, and his experiences around the transition. 

In this episode: Rob Woodstock, Chief Commercial Officer, HMRC

Rob Woodstock spent 25 years in Management Consulting across procurement and supply chain, advisory, technology and outsourcing with Accenture. Rob decided to take on a new challenge with an increased sense of social purpose by becoming HMRC’s Chief Commercial Officer, a significant leadership role within the Government Commercial Organisation.

Rob speaks to Lucy HardingGlobal Head, Procurement & Supply Chain Practice, about exciting programmes he became involved with following his move to the HMRC, including the borders for Brexit project working with traders and third parties to make sure the transition was smooth. 

The scale and complexity of the challenge, as well as the inevitably increased levels of public scrutiny, are just a few things Rob has found are unique to what civil service can offer and he describes how his skills transferred over to the public sector role. 

To find out more about this series, or start up a conversation with the Central Government Practice, please get in touch. Do follow this series and more on our LinkedIn page to see new installments, coming soon.


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