DfT appoints second permanent secretary


The Department for Transport (DfT) has appointed Jo Shanmugalingam as its new second permanent secretary, alongside Dame Bernadette Kelly DCB.

Currently director general for science, innovation and growth at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), Ms Shanmugalingam has led on: the Government’s overall investment and policy strategy to maximise the value of research and development on the economy and society; the Government’s support for small businesses, including the debt and equity schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises through the pandemic; some of the key sectors and technologies of the future.

As second permanent secretary at the DfT, she will provide leadership on a number of high-profile areas across DfT, including decarbonising transport, and will start formally at the end of May.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: 'I am delighted to be welcoming Jo, who brings a wealth of experience from across government departments. I look forward to working with her to improve transport right across the country, including leading on delivering some of our top ambitions like decarbonisation and levelling up.'

Permanent secretary Dame Bernadette said: 'Jo’s appointment is great news for the department – she has demonstrated outstanding skills in leading the government’s work on science and innovation. In this new role, I know she will bring momentum and energy during what is an exciting time for DfT.'

Ms Shanmugalingam said: 'I’m proud to be appointed Second Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport and to be working with teams who have been delivering important work to keep the country moving during challenging times. It will be a privilege to help drive forward the government’s work to decarbonise and level up transport for the travelling public.'

Throughout her career, Ms Shanmugalingam has worked alongside DfT colleagues from air traffic control to industrial strategy and now space launch and regulation, the department said.

She previously served as strategy director at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), as part of a job-share with Susannah Storey, and as director of corporate effectiveness at the Ministry of Defence.

She also spent six years at the Shareholder Executive – now UK Government Investments (UKGI) – where she was responsible for taking the legislation to privatise Royal Mail through Parliament and for the Government’s shareholder interests in businesses including National Air Traffic Services Ltd, Post Office Ltd and Ordnance Survey.

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