Headlines: May 14th, 2004

David Varney, outgoing chairman of MMO2 and chairman of Business in the Community, will become the executive chairman of the new department to be known as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. His appointment follows an open recruitment process The merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise was announced by Chancellor Gordon Brown in his last Budget Statement. The new department will employ about one fifth of the civil service.Mr Varney, 58, will step down as chairman of MM02, the leading mobile telecommunications company, after its AGM on 28 July. He has been chairman of the company since its creation in May 2001. . Prior to MM02, he was Chief Executive Officer of BG Group (formerly British Gas) from 1996 to 2000. Before joining BG Group, he held a variety of senior roles in Shell including the position of Managing Director of AB Svenska Shell in Sweden and Director of Shell International with responsibility for Shell’s Oil Products business in Europe.

Paul Gray, currently Second Permanent Secretary in charge of pensions and disability at the Department for Work and Pensions, has been appointed as the department’s deputy chairman. He has been at the department since 1998, and played a leading role in the merger of the Department of Social Security with the employment section of the former Department for Education and Skills. Before that, he held a variety of senior positions in HM Treasury.

Both Mr Varney and Mr Gray will take up their posts on 1 September 2004.