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HMRC appoints Centrica’s Daljit Rehal as chief digital and information officer

Daljit Rehal, a senior executive at the energy giant Centrica, is set to become Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) first permanent chief digital and information officer (CDIO) since 2017.

Rehal has served as global digital and data services director at Centrica for nearly nine years. Before joining the British firm in 2011, he worked as solutions implementation director and director of customer retention at TalkTalk and Virgin Media respectively.

Rehal will start in his new position, which is regarded as one of the most influential CDIO roles in Whitehall, on 14 September. He succeeds Mark Denney, who joined the tax agency on an interim basis last November and took the reins from Jacky Wright. Wright had been working in the role as part of a two-year secondment from Microsoft.

In an interview with NS Tech earlier this year, Denney revealed he had promised HMRC chief executive Jim Harra that he wouldn’t start looking for his next interim role until he had helped identify his successor.

At the time, the tech executive – who led the team that built the system underpinning the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes – said the department was looking for a candidate who wanted a career of at least five years. “HMRC deserves to have the best and we intend to find the right candidate who will do it justice,” Denney said.

Korn Ferry, a US consultancy firm, led the recruitment search for the role, which offered a salary of up to £200,000, with a 30 per cent bonus opportunity.

In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon (1 September), Harra said he was “delighted to welcome Daljit to HMRC as our new Chief Digital and Information Officer. He proved an exceptional candidate and his appointment will be a tremendous asset to the department as we continue to pursue our ambitions of becoming a digitally-enabled, world-class organisation.

“His passion for leading change focused on customer outcomes and breadth of experience in both technology and business is particularly relevant for us at this time as we continue to expand our online services to business and personal customers and implement the digital strategy we’ve developed over the past two years.”

Rehal said: “I’m really excited to be joining HMRC at a time of such unique challenges and opportunities and continuing the journey to becoming a truly modern and progressive tax authority fit for the 21st century. I look forward to building on the excellent work of my predecessors Mark Denney and Jacky Wright.”

Harra added: “I would also like to pay tribute and thank Mark Denney for his work as Interim Director general. His work in the last few months in delivering the coronavirus support schemes has been a particular highlight and his leadership has helped the department deliver for millions of people affected by the pandemic.”

It is not yet known where Denney is due to move next.

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