Gareth Rhys Williams appointed government chief commercial officer

The government has appointed the former boss of washroom equipment supplier PHS as its new chief commercial officer (CCO).​

Gareth Rhys Williams today takes over from Chris Hall, who has been serving in the role on a temporary basis since the departure of Bill Crothers from the post at the end of November.

He will lead the commercial function across the civil service, acting as head of profession to around 4,000 commercial professionals across government.

John Manzoni, chief executive of the civil Service and Cabinet Office permanent secretary, said: “Gareth brings an extraordinary amount of experience in the commercial sector, with a consistent and impressive record of delivery.

“He will play a pivotal role in making sure every deal provides value for the taxpayer.”


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Rhys Williams said: “I am delighted to be joining the civil service at this exciting time. It’s ever more important to deliver value for money for the taxpayer, and I look forward to doing what I can to maximise the value derived from our commercial relationships and helping individual departments meet their goals in as efficient a way as possible.”

Crothers was the first person to hold the CCO role after CCS was set up to try and sharpen Whitehall’s commercial skills and get better deals from suppliers through the central purchasing of common goods.

Rhys Williams left PHS at the end of 2014 after a restructuring. 

Originally trained as an engineer, he has served as chief executive at Charter International, safety equipment firm Capital Safety Group and broadcast and photographic equipment and services company Vitec Group.

Before joining PHS, Gareth was CEO of Charter International, the FTSE 250 engineering group, until its successful sale to Colfax Corporation in 2012. Prior to that, he was CEO of engineering business Capital Safety Group Ltd, since sold to KKR, and CEO of Vitec Group plc.

Colin Marrs

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