Knight and Morton set to leave Office of Tax Simplification

There is a shakeup at the top of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) as chair Angela Knight and tax director Paul Morton have both announced that they will be leaving the organisation for personal reasons

Morton, who has been at OTS since March 2017, is stepping down for family reasons after 18 months in the role and will leave OTS once a replacement is appointed. He joined OTS as tax director in March 2017, taking over from John Whiting, the ex-PwC partner who was at the organisation since 2010, when the Coalition government first set up the body.

Morton joined OTS, having retired as head of group tax at RELX Group plc, the multinational information and publishing company, and previously held senior roles at Royal Dutch Shell, KPMG and the Inland Revenue, as well as being closely involvement with CIOT’s activities in Europe.

The news came as the OTS Board also confirmed that the current chair of OTS, Angela Knight CBE is also set to leave the organisation after chairing the OTS since January 2016. She will be continuing in the role until her successor and the new tax director are fully in place. Before joining OTS Knight was chief executive of Energy UK, a trade body representing the energy industry from 2012, and previously chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association from 2007 to 2012.

The posts will be advertised and the appointments are made by the Treasury, a process which is likely to take a few months.

A spokesperson at HMRC told Accountancy that the posts would be advertised ‘soon’ by the Treasury, and that the new chair and tax director will be appointed by the Chancellor, which will take a number of months, adding that Morton and Knight ‘would be staying at OTS until the new appointments are made’.  

Morton said: ‘It has been a great privilege to serve as tax director of the OTS, and to see so much energy and professionalism focused on improving the taxpayer experience. I am grateful to stakeholders for their unwavering support and to HM Treasury and HMRC colleagues for their outstanding spirit of collaboration.

‘I very much regret that unanticipated changes in my personal and family circumstances mean that I am no longer able to devote sufficient time to the OTS to fulfil this role. I look forward to following the progress of the important contribution made by the OTS.’

Teresa Graham, senior independent director of the OTS, said: “I am very saddened that Angela and Paul are each having to step down. They have together provided energy and leadership which has made a noticeable difference to the work and reputation of the OTS, and they will be greatly missed.’

The roles of OTS chair and tax director are each Chancellor appointments, as provided for in Schedule 25 to Finance Act 2016.

Report by Sara White

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