U.K. tax office poaches Vodafone CIO for top IT role

In a rare coup by government for private business, HM Revenue and Customs has nabbed the current Vodafone CIO to take up the same role at the U.K.'s tax office.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: Flickr

Vodafone's chief information officer Mark Dearnley will become the new chief digital and information officer for the U.K.'s tax office, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced on Thursday.

It comes as a coup to the private industry, which has recently seen some high profile government staffers move towards the private sector.

The U.K. government department said Dearnley will be in charge of a £500 million-a-year ($755m) IT budget that serves about 45 million taxpaying individuals, 4.8 million businesses, and 65,000 government employees. 

Dearnley will also take responsibility for HMRC's £200 million ($302) digitization program, which it says will help taxpayers and up to five million businesses interact with the tax office digitally, saving money in the long run. It's hoped that by the end of 2016, small to medium-sized businesses will have "nearly everything they need" through one single personalized, serviceable homepage.

The incoming IT chief had at Vodafone previously supported 19 million customers as well as the cellular giant's own physical and information security. 

Dearnley will take over Mark Hall, who took over from Phil Pavitt when he left at the start of 2013 to work for insurance giant Aviva. Hall said in an email to staff in early July that his application to take on the job from an interim to a full-time basis was unsuccessful. 

"It is an indication of the scale and seriousness of the Government's digital ambition that one of the UK's most experienced CIOs is leaving the private sector to take on this major role," said David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said Dearnley was an "exceptionally experienced CIO" and is the "right person" to deliver modern services to the U.K. taxpayer.

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