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Appointment of the new Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary at HMRC

Jim Harra appointed as the new Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary at HMRC, succeeding Sir Jonathan Thompson.

The Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, with the agreement of the Prime Minister, has today announced the appointment of Jim Harra as the new Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Jim was formerly the Second Permanent Secretary at HMRC, and has been covering the role of Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary on an interim basis since Sir Jonathan Thompson moved to become Chief Executive of the Financial Reporting Council.

Welcoming Jim Harra’s appointment, Sir Mark Sedwill said:

As Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary, Jim will continue building on the excellent work he has already set in motion at HMRC. I know that he will provide strong leadership to one of the biggest departments in the Civil Service, and his appointment reflects not only the huge contribution to public service he has made to date, but also the wealth of departmental knowledge he will bring to the role.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said:

I’m delighted that Jim Harra has been appointed as Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary of HM Revenue and Customs. I’ve worked closely with Jim as we have prepared Britain for Brexit, and his experience and expertise mean he’s the right person to lead HMRC at this crucial time.

Jim Harra said:

I’m thrilled to take on the role of HMRC’s Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary, particularly at such a critical time. I have a deep respect for colleagues within this department and am proud that they are recognised as among the best in government. I’m very much looking forward to tackling the challenges and opportunities that we’ll face, together, including continuing our progress towards making HMRC the best tax and customs authority in the world.


  • This appointment has been made by the Prime Minister with the agreement of the Chancellor for the Exchequer and Cabinet Secretary. It follows an internal recruitment exercise.
  • Jim Harra has been interim Chief Executive since 1 October 2019 and Second Permanent Secretary since January 2018.
  • Previously Jim held the dual role of Tax Assurance Commissioner and Director General Customer Strategy and Tax Design in HMRC.
  • Jim Harra’s career began in HMRC’s predecessor, the Inland Revenue as a tax inspector in 1984, and held a number of director-level positions becoming director general for business tax in 2012.
  • Arrangements to appoint a successor as Second Permanent Secretary will be announced in due course.


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