HMRC names new chief digital and information officer

HMRC has appointed Daljit Rehal as its new chief digital and information officer (CDIO), a role which the tax authority has described as ‘a challenge like no other’ as it moves to expand its digital services

The CDIO post became vacant nine months ago following the departure of previous digital head Jacky Wright, who returned to Microsoft last autumn after a two-year stint.

Mark Denney was brought in as interim CDIO in November. Described as a senior change and IT executive with broad experience in digital transformation, payments infrastructure, technology and strategic change, he had previously spent a decade with Barclays and held senior positions at JP Morgan Chase and GE Capital.

Rehal joins HMRC in the permanent role after nearly nine years at Centrica as global digital and data services director. He previously held senior positions at Talk Talk and Virgin Media.

HMRC described Rehal as a senior technology and data executive with broad experience in the sector, including modernising digital capabilities, adopting big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies and agile methods and leading change.

Jim Harra, HMRC CEO, said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome Daljit to HMRC as our new CDIO. He proved an exceptional candidate and his appointment will be a tremendous asset to the department as we continue to pursue our ambitions of becoming a digitally-enabled, world-class organisation.

‘His passion for leading change focused on customer outcomes and breadth of experience in both technology and business is particularly relevant for us at this time as we continue to expand our online services to business and personal customers and implement the digital strategy we’ve developed over the past two years.

‘I would also like to pay tribute and thank Mark Denney for his work as interim director general.

‘His work in the last few months in delivering the coronavirus support schemes has been a particular highlight and his leadership has helped the department deliver for millions of people affected by the pandemic.’

The CDIO position was described in HMRC’s advertisement as one with the opportunity to ‘make a huge impact and leave a lasting legacy for years to come’.

HMRC is in the midst of significant transformation, including providing new systems for the UK’s exit from the EU customs union and its flagship Making Tax Digital initiative, as well as responding to a raft of initiatives to address the impact of Covid-19 on employers, employees and industry sectors.

The advertisement indicated candidates would need to have proven experience of operating in a strategic CIO/CDIO post in ‘a large, highly regulated and high-transaction based organisation, such as a significant financial services or telecommunications business’, and could expect a salary in a range £115,000 - £200,000 plus a bonus opportunity of up to 30%.

Rehal said: ‘I’m really excited to be joining HMRC at a time of such unique challenges and opportunities and continuing the journey to becoming a truly modern and progressive tax authority fit for the 21st century.

‘I look forward to building on the excellent work of my predecessors Mark Denney and Jacky Wright.’

Rehal takes up his role on 14 September, and will report directly to Harra.

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