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Former BP executive to get a grip on major projects

05/02/14

A former executive at oil giant BP is to join the civil service as chief executive of the Major Francis MaudeProjects Authority, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, has announced.

The Major Projects Authority was set up in 2011 as a partnership between the Cabinet Office and the Treasury following a series of embarrassing delays and cost-overruns. Its remit covers 191 projects with a combed whole life cost of £354bn. In its first annual report, it rated only 42% of major projects as "highly likely or probably to deliver on time and on budget" while 16% were rated red or amber red with "significant doubts concerning their deliverability". Red rated schemes in 2012 included the Home Office's "transforming the customer experience" programme and the Ministry of Justice's shared services programme.

John Manzoni, an accountant by profession, was most recently chief executive ofCanadian oil and gas company Talisman Energy. He moved there after 24 years at BP, where he worked under Lord Browne, who reported on major projects for the government in May last year.

Maude said: "John has an impressive record of leading global operations and delivering complex, challenging briefs. His experience will be invaluable to the civil service and to taxpayers. I'm delighted he is joining the Cabinet Office and this is a great example of how we can bring talented men and women with private sector experience into Whitehall.

"As part of this government's long-term economic plan we must to continue to improve the civil service's management of major projects. Last year the Major Projects Authority saved hard-working taxpayers £1.7 billion. I'm confident that with John's leadership we can go even further and make a real difference to the delivery of these projects which matter to all of us."

Manzoni said: "Some of the largest and most complex projects can be found in government and it's the scale of the challenge that makes this role interesting. Working with departments, and at the service of talented civil servants, the MPA has already delivered remarkable improvements. To me, the key to its continued success is the quality of project professionals at the centre and in departments. It always comes down to the people."

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