Government COO Stephen Kelly To Leave

Aug 11, 2014

The government’s chief operating officer (COO) Stephen Kelly has announced he will be resigning from his role.

Kelly will remain at Whitehall until November 2014 before taking up the position of group chief executive at business software group Sage.

“After immense consideration, I have decided to return to the private sector as chief executive of Sage. I have always been passionate about supporting SMEs and this role is an excellent opportunity for me to play a crucial role in jobs and growth,” he claimed.

Kelly joined the Cabinet Office in 2011, leading the Efficiency and Reform Group under Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.

According to the Government Digital Service (GDS), he played a part in the reported £14.3bn savings made across the public sector in 2013-14.

GDS also named the COO as its “unrelenting supporter and champion” – adding that he brought positivity to the Department and removed a number of obstacles.

“We in the GDS have much to thank him for. Establishing new cultures and operations at pace is always difficult; in a place as changeable and febrile as Whitehall, it is doubly so,” claims Mike Bracken, GDS head, in a new blog post.

Brackens adds that he is not surprised that Kelly wants to move to the private sector, but is glad he chose a British software company.

“Our digital economy needs more success stories like Sage and our digital and technical communities need permanence, beyond early stage VC-backed start-ups and imported Internet brands,” he claims.

“That gain for the UK economy is government’s loss,” he adds.

Kelly Built “Strong Foundation”

Maude too has paid tribute to Kelly’s time as government COO.

“Although we have achieved an enormous amount we are still at the start of our work to transform Whitehall,” the Cabinet Office Minister claimed.

“[Kelly] will be missed greatly but he has developed an exceptionally strong team who will continue our reform work including by further strengthening commercial skills, digitising government and ensuring our major projects run to time and budget,” he added.


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