Dame Lesley stands down as HMRC head

DAME LESLEY STRATHIE has had to stand down from her role as chief executive officer of HM Revenue & Customs for health reasons.

Dame Lesley, who was diagnosed with cancer in July, has decided to step down because of her deteriorating health.

She begun her career as an administrative assistant in the Department of Health and Social Security in 1971, joining HMRC in November 2008 from Jobcentre Plus, where she was chief executive.

Sir Gus O’Donnell, head of the home civil service, paid tribute to her 40 years in public service. “She has been a wonderful role model for all civil servants, working her way from the bottom to the very top of the Civil Service,” he said.

“She has never shied away from the tough jobs: creating Jobcentre Plus; transforming the welfare agenda; and, more recently, leading HMRC.”

“I will miss Lesley enormously and am hugely grateful to her for her dedicated support, wise advice and personal friendship,” he added.

Mike Clasper, non-executive chair said: “Lesley is a truly inspirational leader, who has worked with passion and determination to transform HMRC. We all know how many challenges HMRC faces, but HMRC today is delivering improved services and compliance revenues thanks to Lesley’s clear leadership and focus on the customer and results.

“It is with great regret that she will not be able to see through the transformation she has begun, but it is right that she focuses all her energies on her health. Lesley has built a strong leadership team who are well placed to lead HMRC and support a new chief executive.”

HMRC has said the arrangements for appointing a successor will be announced shortly. Until then, Clasper will provide leadership and Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax will continue to act as interim principal accounting officer, a statement said.

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