GDS Appoints New Head Amid Further Departures

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GDS COO Stephen Foreshew-Cain is promoted as three others join former head Mike Bracken in resigning

Stephen Foreshew-Cain, chief operating officer (COO) of the Government Digital Service (GDS), is to replace digital director Mike Bracken, who announced his departure last week.

Foreshew-Cain, who has held positions at ITV, Accenture, Capgemini and ThoughtWorks in the past, has been with GDS since April 2014 and will lead a new-look management team following further resignations.

Deputy director Tom Loosemore, director of strategy Russell Davies and director of design Ben Terrett are also set to leave in the wake of Bracken’s decision.

Management shake-up

Stephen Foreshew-Cain GDS“I’ve been running GDS for a year, now I’m stepping up to lead it,” said Foreshew-Cain (pictured left). “But I’m not doing that alone.

“We have a growing number of leaders at GDS who are ready to step up and lead the digital transformation. And beyond them, we have helped to recruit a network of digital and technology leaders into government, such as Norman Driskell at Home Office, Mayank Prakash at DWP, and Sarah Wilkinson at HO amongst them.  As we continue to develop the Digital and Technology profession in government there can only be more opportunity for digital and technology specialists.”

Liam Maxwell will continue as CTO, leading the Government Technology Group, while Chris Ferguson will be promoted from GOV.UK Verify Programme Director to lead the GDS Digital Group. Felicity Singleton, one of the original authors of the Government Digital Strategy, will lead on Digital Policy and Departmental Engagement, and Wendy Coello will add Digital Design to her role as leader of GDS’ Digital Engagement Teams.

Time for ‘new leaders’

“We know that this is the right time for new leaders to stand up, and for some to move on,” added Foreshew-Cain. “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.”

Bracken was appointed in 2011 and oversaw a major overhaul of the government’s online resources with the launch of Gov.UK in 2012. The Cabinet Office says the restructure and digital by default initiatives save the taxpayer £60 million a year.

No reason was given for his departure when it was announced last week, but he has since confirmed he will join the Co-Operative Group as Chief Digital Officer in October.

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