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11 February 2000

Chief Executive - Office of Government Commerce

Peter Gershon is to be Chief Executive of the new Office of Government Commerce, Andrew Smith, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, announced today. Brian Rigby will be the Deputy Chief Executive.

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is being set up to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Government's £13 billion annual civil procurement budget. The appointment of Peter Gershon and Brian Rigby will ensure that the OGC will spearhead a new era of Government efficiency.

Speaking about the appointments Andrew Smith said:

"I am very pleased to have secured the services of Peter as Chief Executive and Brian as Deputy Chief Executive. It was Peter who was instrumental in carrying out the review of central government purchasing last year and we have at the helm two people who can deliver on the Government's modernisation and competitiveness agenda.

"Peter is highly respected in the private sector and we are fortunate to have acquired his services. His skills in IT, industry and business are second to none and, along with Brian's own civil service experience in procurement balanced with his private sector skills, we have the ideal partnership.

"In the developing electronic age, we must seize the opportunity to combine a new era of central Government efficiency with the huge potential from its civil procurement buying power to deliver real savings for the taxpayer."

Sir Richard Evans, Chairman of BAE Systems, commented :

"Peter Gershon's appointment to this key new government body is fitting recognition of his outstanding capabilities as a manager. Whilst we are naturally sorry to lose him from the BAE SYSTEMS team, we recognise the importance Ministers attach to this move and wish him every success."

The Office of Government Commerce will oversee the purchasing activity of some 200 Government departments and agencies employing some 5000 staff on procurement tasks and spending some £13 billion of taxpayers' money every year. The OGC will perform an important role in the Government's modernisation and competitiveness agenda and will ensure the best value for this major element of public expenditure.

Notes for editors

1. The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) was announced on 22 July 1999 by the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Alan Milburn. OGC will become the Government's centre of excellence in procurement for up to 200 Government departments, non-government bodies and agencies when it takes up residence in its new premises at Fleetbank House, Salisbury Square, off Fleet Street, London EC1 on 1 April 2000. OGC will take on the staff of Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), Property Advisers to the Civil Estate (PACE), The Buying Agency (TBA) together with some procurement staff from HM Treasury, Cabinet Office and Department of Health.

2. Peter Gershon, 53, is a member of the Board of British Aerospace plc and is currently Chief Operating Officer in BAE SYSTEMS, a position he has held since December 1999 following the merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems where he was Managing Director of Marconi Electronic Systems, previously GEC Marconi. Peter began his industrial career with ICL and was appointed to the ICL Management Board in 1985 as Director of a new Network Systems division which had been formed following STC Telecommunications acquisition of the company. He became Managing Director of STC Telecommunications in January 1987. He joined GEC in 1990 as Managing Director of GPT, the GEC/Siemens joint venture, whereupon he became Managing Director of GEC Marconi in 1994.

3. Last year Peter Gershon undertook a review for the UK Government on Civil Procurement. He is a non-executive member of the Lagardere SCA Supervisory Board, Chairman of the Cambridge University External Mathematics Fundraising Committee and a member of the Cambridge University Judge Management Institute Advisory Board. He is married with three children.

4. Peter Gershon is joining the Treasury as a civil servant on a three year contract. His salary will be £180,000 per annum.

5. Brian Rigby, 55, is currently Director of Procurement at HM Treasury, a position he has held for three years. Prior to joining the civil service he was Director of Supply Management at British Telecom which he followed with a spell as Director of Strategy for Fujitsu UK.

6.  The OGC website can be found at the link below.

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