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New Permanent Secretary to the Department for International Trade

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The Cabinet Secretary has appointed James Bowler as the new Permanent Secretary to the Department for International Trade.

The Cabinet Secretary, with the approval of the Prime Minister, has appointed James Bowler as the new Permanent Secretary to the Department for International Trade (DIT). He replaces interim Permanent Secretary John Alty who is retiring.

Simon Ridley, currently Director General, Strategy in the Covid Taskforce will take over as the Head of the Taskforce, when James takes up his new role later in the summer.

The Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP, said:

Im delighted to welcome James to DIT as we enter our next exciting stage. His experience will support our talented, driven department as we negotiate trade deals with key markets across the world, head the G7 trade track and encourage WTO reform.

He will ensure we continue to encourage investment and exports to help level up the country, particularly through our new trade hubs across the U.K.

I would also like to say a huge thank you to John for all his work supporting the department over the past few months, and wish him well in his retirement when James starts.

The Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, said:

Jamess appointment is great news for DIT. His leadership of the Covid Taskforce has been exceptional and he brings with him a strong experience and expertise gained in a number of senior roles at HM Treasury and Ministry of Justice. I look forward to working with him as he leads the department to deliver the trade, export and investment opportunities the country needs.

I would like to thank John Alty who has provided strong leadership to the department over the last few months.

I am also grateful to Simon Ridley for taking over as Head of the Covid Taskforce. He has been a critical part of the team supporting the Prime Minister over the last year and I am delighted that he will be taking on this vital leadership role.

Commenting on his appointment, James Bowler said:

I am delighted to be joining the Department for International Trade. With the department having achieved so much in a short period, I look forward to helping to secure further progress on trade agreements, export and investment promotion and levelling-up. I am excited to be joining such a skilled and dedicated group as we put trade at the centre of recovery.

Notes for Editors:

  • James Bowler became the Permanent Secretary leading the Covid Taskforce in the Cabinet Office in October 2020. He has previously held a number of senior roles in government including DG for Policy, Communications and Analysis in the Ministry of Justice, DG for Public Spending in HM Treasury between 2017 and 2020 and DG, Tax and Welfare between 2015 to 2017.

  • Director General, Policy, Communication and Analysis, Ministry of Justice, 2020 Director General, Public Spending, HMT, 2017 to 2020 Director General, Tax and Welfare, HMT, 2015 to 2017 James was also the Principal Private Secretary to both Gordon Brown and David Cameron working in Number 10.

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