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Board of HM Revenue & Customs


Mike Clasper CBE
Lesley Strathie
Dave Hartnett
Melanie Dawes
Mike Eland
Bernadette Kenny
Steve Lamey
Simon Bowles
Colin Cobain
Mark Haysom CBE
Philippa Hird
Phil Hodkinson
John Spence
Dame Sue Street DCB

Mike ClasperMike Clasper CBE, Chairman

Mike leads the Board, which provides strategic leadership, approves business plans, monitors performance and ensures the highest standards of corporate governance.


Mike joined HMRC on 1 August 2008 from Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd where he was Operational Managing Director. He was formally Chief Executive at the airport operator BAA plc.

Born in Sunderland, Mike began his working life as a British Rail signalling engineer before joining Procter & Gamble in 1978. He progressed quickly to a series of senior management positions when he left in 2001 he was President, Global Home Care and New Business Development. From Procter & Gamble he moved to the airport operator BAA.

Mike is a Non-Executive Director at ITV plc and Chairman of the West London Working Consortium. He has also recently been appointed Chairman of Which, a non-Executive part time post of two days a month. He was a founder member of the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and was also Chairman of the Business in the Community taskforce on Marketplace Responsibility.

Lesley StrathieLesley Strathie, Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive

Lesley is the Permanent Secretary, Chief Executive and Principal Accounting Officer (PAO). As Chief Executive, Lesley is accountable to the Board for delivering the Departmental strategy and for the organisation’s performance. As PAO, Lesley is accountable to Parliament for the day to day running and expenditure of the Department. Her Executive Committee (ExCom) portfolio includes Communications and Marketing, Departmental Transformation and Strategy.

Lesley joined the Civil Service in 1971 straight from school as a clerical assistant in The Department of Health & Social Security, moving to the Department of Employment in 1974. In 1984, she moved from her native Scotland to London to work in the Unemployment Benefit Service which later became part of the new Employment Service. Lesley worked in many different roles, was promoted through the management tiers of the Employment Service and entered the Senior Civil Service in November 2000.

When the Employment Service and Benefits Agency merged to create Jobcentre Plus, Lesley was promoted to the post of Field Director responsible for operational delivery in London in November 2001. Through open competition, she was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2003 and Chief Executive in 2005.

In her position as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, she successfully delivered the office roll-out, the re-design, re-brand and refurbishment of over 1500 former Jobcentres and Social Security offices and creation of over 850 new Jobcentres. Lesley continued the transformation of Jobcentre Plus, moving the business to multi-channel delivery and took forward the Welfare Reform Agenda, which included the implementation of a new benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, in October 2008.

Lesley is a member of the Permanent Secretaries Management Group and is Head of Profession for Operational Delivery across Whitehall and is a member of the Government Skills Board. She is a member of the Employers’ Forum on Disability President’s Group and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.

David HartnettDave Hartnett CB, Permanent Secretary for Tax:

Dave was appointed Permanent Secretary for Tax on 13 October 2008. He is the senior tax professional in HMRC and has specific well defined accountabilities in the areas of tax policy and tax strategy. His ExCom portfolio includes Central Policy, Knowledge, Analysis and Intelligence and Valuation Office Agency.

Dave joined the Inland Revenue in 1976. He spent nearly 10 years on investigation work before, in 1991, becoming Director of Claims Branch then Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office dealing with schemes for tax relief and deduction at source, non residents and trusts. In 1996, he moved to lead the technical teams on personal taxation and in 1998; he was appointed Director of Capital and Savings.

He led the 2000 quinquennial review of the Valuation Office Agency before joining the Board of Inland Revenue as Director General (Policy and Technical). Following the merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise, he became first HMRC’s Director General for Customer Contact and Compliance Strategy and then Director General for Business.

Dave led the development of the rules requiring disclosure of schemes of tax avoidance and the OECD Study of Tax Intermediaries. He was also one of the Commissioners who set up the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre (JITSIC). He has had an interest in compliance and enforcement throughout his career and established the High Risk Corporate Programme for addressing compliance issues
in big business.

Melanie DawesMelanie Dawes, Director General Business Tax:

Melanie was appointed Director General Business Tax in March 2009. She is accountable for all the Department’s results for business customers. Her ExCom portfolio includes Business Customer Unit, Large Business Service, Corporation Tax and VAT, Anti-avoidance Group, Customs & International, Excise, Stamps and Money and Business International.

Previously, Melanie was Director of Large Business Service (LBS), which manages HMRC’s relationships with the largest companies, partnerships and employers in the UK.

Prior to joining HMRC, Melanie spent fifteen years at HM Treasury, most recently as Europe Director where she led the Treasury’s contribution to the UK Presidency of the EU in 2005 and was involved in various international tax, financial and budgetary negotiations. She started her career as an economist and has also worked on public spending, tax and tax credit policy, monetary policy and the euro. She coordinated the first Treasury assessment against the Five Tests for UK membership of the single currency in 1997.

Mike ElandMike Eland, Director General Enforcement and Compliance:

Mike's ExCom portfolio includes Central Compliance, Local Compliance, Criminal Investigation, Specialist Investigations, Risk & Intelligence and Debt Management and Banking. Mike is also a Non-Executive Director for the UK Border Agency.

Mike joined HM Customs and Excise in 1975, having been called to the bar in the same year. He spent six years at the Cabinet Office in various roles, including Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister, and three years in the Home Office as Deputy Director General in the Immigration and Nationality Department.

Mike has had a wide range of posts in HM Customs and Excise on both the tax and law enforcement side and in finance and planning. In 2000 he became Director General of Business Services and Taxes one of the main operational units with overall responsibility for the collection of indirect taxes and customs duties, facilitating and regulating international trade. From 2003 until the merger into HM Revenue and Customs he was Acting Chairman of the Department.

Bernadette KennyBernadette Kenny, Director General Personal Tax:

Bernadette's ExCom portfolio includes Customer Operations, Customer Contact, PAYE, Self Assessment and National Insurance Contributions, Individuals Customer Directorate and Charity, Assets and Residence. Bernadette joined HMRC in May 2005, following a short period as acting Chief Executive of the Royal Parks.

She had previously spent 24 years at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, having started in the then Lord Chancellor's Department as a Government Lawyer in 1980. After an early career in a range of both legal and policy posts, she moved into operations in 1991 managing civil and the higher criminal courts in the South East.

She led the team that launched the Court Service as an executive agency in 1995 before setting up the new agency's HR and Learning function. She moved onto the agency board in 1999, leading on business change, IT, procurement and tribunals operations. She returned to DCA HQ in 2002 as Change Director.

Steve LameySteve Lamey, Director General Benefits and Credits:

In September 2008 Steve was appointed Director General Benefits and Credits, retaining his capability and PaceSetter responsibilities.

Steve graduated in Mining Engineering at University College Cardiff in 1978 before starting work with the BOC Group. He had a wide variety of roles there, working in project engineering and management roles before moving on to operational, commercial and senior management jobs. He became Director of Global Information and Management User Services in June 1998.

In 2000, Steve joined the British Gas Group as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Vice President Information Management (IM). This meant he was responsible for development and delivery of business strategy and services, ensuring that IM added business value.

Steve joined HMRC in Ocober 2004, becoming Chief Information Officer (CIO) for both former Departments. In October 2007, he was appointed to a new role, Chief Operating Officer, to oversee and co-ordinate all performance including development of future performance measures.

Simon BowlesSimon Bowles, Chief Finance Officer:

Simon is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of financial management within the Department and leading the Commercial, Estates & Support Services, Finance, Governance & Security, Government Banking and Internal Audit directorates.

He was appointed in March 2009 and brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked for a number of large global businesses.

Simon was previously chief financial officer at Fiberweb – an international manufacturer of fabrics for hygiene and industrial use – and held various senior financial positions at RAC, BOC Group and Arthur Andersen & Co.

He trained as a chartered accountant after graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in economics.

Non-executive directors

HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) Non-Executive Directors are senior business figures from outside the department who bring a diverse mix of expertise and skills from across both public and private sector. HMRC looks to its Non-Executive Directors to:

  • bring guidance and advice
  • support and challenge management about the department’s strategic direction
  • provide support in monitoring and reviewing progress

Colin Cobain:

Colin is a highly successful Chief Information Officer (CIO) who has won awards for his work within the retail sector. He was formerly CIO of Tesco plc where he played a significant role in the transformation of their technological capability. His current roles are Non-Executive Chairman of Safe Surgery Systems and interim Group CIO at the brewer SABMiller.

Having started his career with the Mars group, he has also been Chief Executive at Incepto and IT Director at Thorn EMI plc, Rumbelows. Within the Kingfisher plc group he was Complementary Channels Director, Systems and Logistics Director, Systems and Business Development Director, Director of Retail Developments and Head of MIS.

Mark Haysom CBE:

Mark Haysom was the Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for more than five years from October 2003. In 2008 he was awarded the CBE for services to education and training.

Before the LSC, he spent almost 30 years in the newspaper industry with Reed International, Thomson Regional Newspapers and the Trinity Mirror Group. As Managing Director, National Newspapers for Trinity Mirror, he was responsible for such titles as the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People, Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

Philippa Hird:

Philippa is an experienced Human Resources professional specialising in effective delivery of complex change. She was until recently Group Human Resources Director of ITV. Prior to ITV, she held Personnel Director roles at Granada plc and Granada Media Group.

Her current roles are board member of Polka Theatre in Wimbledon and governor of Wimbledon Chase primary school.

Previously she was a board member of Opportunity Now and of Skillset and Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Phil Hodkinson:

Until recently, Phil was an external adviser to the HMRC Senior Management Team and the Audit Committee. He supported the Department in the wake of the data loss and implementation of the Capability Review and provides valuable consistency for the Board. He brings with him significant finance experience having previously been Group Finance Director of HBOS plc and Chairman of Insight Investment prior to his retirement in 2007.

He is also Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair of BT Group plc and Travelex Holdings, Non-Executive Director of Resolution Ltd, Trustee of Christian Aid and Trustee of Business in the Community. Phil chairs the HMRC Ethics and Responsibilities Committee.

Previously he was Chief Executive Officer of UK Life Business at Zurich Financial Services, a consulting actuary, Chair of the Association of British Insurers Raising Standards Accreditation Scheme and a member of the Department for Trade and Industry Operating and Financial Review Working Group.

John Spence:

John’s background is in the banking sector. His career with Lloyds TSB spanned 32 years from 1973 to 2005. Senior appointments included Managing Director of Business Banking, Chief Executive of Lloyds TSB Scotland, and Managing Director of Retail Distribution encompassing UK branch networks, ATMs, telephony and internet banking.

He is involved in a wide range of charities and church organisations as well as a number of business focused organisations (such as Business in the Community). John chairs the HMRC Audit and Risk Committee.

Dame Sue Street DCB

Dame Sue has had a long and distinguished Whitehall career. She was the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and prior to that held posts in the Home Office, Serious Fraud Office and the Cabinet Office.

Her current roles are strategic adviser to Deloitte LLP, trustee of the Royal Opera House, trustee of the Windsor Leadership Trust, governor of the Royal Ballet and association member of BUPA.

Previously, she has been a board member of the Whitehall and Industry Group, a Senior Management Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, board member of the National School of Government and a governor of South Hampstead High School.