Jo Shanmugalingam appointed as new Second Permanent Secretary at DfT

The Department for Transport (DfT) Permanent Secretary, with the approval of the Prime Minister, has today (3 May 2023) announced that Jo Shanmugalingam, currently a Director General at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), has been appointed as the new Second Permanent Secretary at DfT.

The Second Permanent Secretary, appointed following an open competition, will provide leadership of a number of high-profile areas across DfT, including decarbonising transport, and will start formally at the end of May.

Jo is currently Director General for Science, Innovation and Growth at DSIT. Since taking up this role in 2019, she has led on:

  • the government’s overall investment and policy strategy to maximise the value of research and development on the economy and society
  • the government’s support for small businesses, including the debt and equity schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises through the pandemic
  • some of the key sectors and technologies of the future

Having previously served as Strategy Director at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), as part of a job-share with Susannah Storey, and Director of Corporate Effectiveness at the Ministry of Defence, Jo started her career at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). She spent 6 years at the Shareholder Executive – now UK Government Investments (UKGI) – where she was responsible for taking the legislation to privatise Royal Mail through Parliament and for the government’s shareholder interests in businesses including National Air Traffic Services Ltd, Post Office Ltd and Ordnance Survey.

Throughout her career, Jo has worked alongside DfT colleagues from air traffic control to industrial strategy and now space launch and regulation.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:

I am delighted to be welcoming Jo, who brings a wealth of experience from across government departments. I look forward to working with her to improve transport right across the country, including leading on delivering some of our top ambitions like decarbonisation and levelling up.

Permanent Secretary for the Department for Transport Bernadette Kelly said:

Jo’s appointment is great news for the department – she has demonstrated outstanding skills in leading the government’s work on science and innovation. In this new role, I know she will bring momentum and energy during what is an exciting time for DfT.

Jo Shanmugalingam said:

I’m proud to be appointed Second Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport and to be working with teams who have been delivering important work to keep the country moving during challenging times.

It will be a privilege to help drive forward the government’s work to decarbonise and level up transport for the travelling public.

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