The Department of Energy & Climate Change – Head of Science

Bringing international private sector leadership talent into Government

Across Government, the need to achieve maximum return on investment in scientific research and discovery has never been greater, particularly if it cuts across broad Government policy remits such as reducing the impact of climate change on society.

Penna’s Government team has a strong reputation in delivering scientific and technical leadership roles into Government, its regulatory bodies and into associated private sector organisations. The team were asked to support the Department of Energy & Climate Change, recently subsumed into the new Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department, to deliver an international “headhunt” to find an exceptional individual to lead and develop its future research strategy on climate change.

This was an important appointment for the Department, and the Government more broadly. It required an exceptional individual who had scientific credibility and experience in this field but also the ability to deliver impact in terms of future policy and action on the Climate Change agenda. They would also need to demonstrate the mental dexterity and experience to operate across a wide-ranging brief, and have a track record in successful collaboration within the Climate Change space. Our customer also wanted to improve the gender diversity of the senior team and find someone with strong commercial acumen. A tall order!

Because of our insight, networks, and international reach across the STEM-based sectors, we were able to advise our customers on the narrative, job description and terms and conditions to attract the right calibre of individual to the role. We also knew that there were individuals abroad who might be tempted to the UK because of its leading position on Climate Change, if we could ensure that the role had sufficient breadth in terms of its remit, and scope for impactful policy and action. This added value, combined with our track record of supporting senior appointments, gave the Appointments Panel confidence in filling what looked an ominously difficult role to fill.

The search covered world renowned academics, large international entities with specialist Climate Change and energy interests, NGOs, and professional services firms operating in UK, Asia, US and Europe. A longlist of 8 applicants were interviewed, which resulted in a shortlist of 2 women and 2 men.

Following final panel interviews 3 candidates were considered above the line with the successful female candidate coming from a major multi-national corporate based in Singapore.

Roger Russell

M: 0203 829 9765

T: 07710 701570