Chief operating officer to take over from Mike Bracken as other leading officials move on
A new head of the Government Digital Service (GDS) has emerged, with chief operating officer Stephen Foreshew-Cain announcing that he is taking over with the departure of Mike Bracken next month.
Foreshew-Cain made the announcement in his first blogpost, saying that after effectively running the GDS for the past year he is stepping up to lead it. His role so far has involved co-ordinating the operation of the GDS with responsibility for its organisational performance.
Before joining in April of last year, he was portfolio programme director at marketing and technology agency LBi, and previously held positions at Capgemini, ITV and Accenture.
“Alongside making sure we continue to deliver our priorities this year, our focus is on gearing up for the Spending Review, and getting a settlement that will enable us to drive the government’s digital agenda forward,” Foreshew-Cain said.
He acknowledged that a group of key staff are following Bracken – who is to become the Co-operative Group’s chief digital officer – out of the door. Deputy director Tom Loosemore, director of strategy Russell Davies, design director Ben Terrett and head of user research Leisa Reichelt are all to move on.
This could fuel the speculation, originally prompted by new of Bracken’s departure, that there could be a shift in direction for the government’s digital policy. But Foreshew-Cain emphasised that other key officials are remaining within the GDS.
Liam Maxwell continues as chief technology officer, while others step into new roles: Chris Ferguson goes from GOV.UK Verify programme director to led the GDS Digital group; Felicity Singleton moves from programme director of Government as a Platform to lead on digital policy and departmental engagement; and Wendy Coello is adding digital design to her brief as lead of the Digital Engagement teams.
Foreshew-Cain suggested that a series of personnel changes are inevitable, having recently tweeted that digital transformation is a relay rather than a sprint or a marathon.
“We know that this is the right time for new leaders to stand up, and for some to move on,” he said.