Bernard Gray

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Bernard Peter Gray (born 6 September 1960 at Redhill, Surrey, UK) is a British businessman and journalist. Graduated from Oxford University. He was a special adviser to the Labour Party, based in the Ministry of Defence. In December 2010 he was appointed to the role of Chief of Defence Materiel in the Ministry of Defence, leading the Defence Equipment and Support organisation. He replaces General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue. The 4 year appointment commences on 4 January 2011.


Gray worked for five years in investment banking and capital markets for Bankers Trust and Chase Manhattan in London and New York.

He spent nearly 10 years as a journalist at the Financial Times Group, including as a defence correspondent. He was recognised in the Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards in 1996 for the Best Defence Submission.

From 1997 to 1999, Gray was special adviser to former Secretaries of State for Defence George Robertson and Geoff Hoon, where Gray directed the 1998 Strategic Defence Review.[1]

From 1999 to 2001, Gray was Strategy Director of the UK publishing and events division of United Business Media, CMP Information. He was heavily involved in the proposed Carlton-UBM merger.[2] From January 2003 to July 2006, he was a non-executive director of Cable and Wireless. He was also Chairman of the Remuneration Committee from January 2003 to 31 March 2006.[3] He has also served as non-executive director for the UK broadcaster Five.[2]

In October 2005, Gray was appointed as Chief Executive of TSL Education Limited (publishers of the Times Educational Supplement) when it was acquired by Exponent.[2] Bernard pockets huge bonuses whilst troops are dying on the front line.<>

Report on UK defence acquisition[edit]

In 2008, the former Defence Secretary John Hutton commissioned Gray to undertake an independent review of defence acquisition[4] published in October 2009.[5] Although publication was initially moved from July 2009 until after the general election - prompting The Spectator to suggest that it had been "suppressed"[6] - the confidential report was leaked to The Sunday Telegraph in August 2009. The Times highlighted some of the more "damning" extracts from the report:

  • The department is running a "substantially overheated equipment programme, with too many types of equipment being ordered for too large a range of tasks at too high a specification".
  • the MoD is "harming our ability ... to conduct difficult current operations".
  • "The problems, and the sums of money involved, have almost lost their power to shock, so endemic is the issue."
  • "It seems as though military equipment acquisition is vying in a technological race with the delivery of civilian software systems for the title of ’world’s most delayed technical solution’. Even British trains cannot compete."
  • "How can it be that it takes 20 years to buy a ship, or aircraft, or tank? Why does it always seem to cost at least twice what was thought? Even worse, at the end of the wait, why does it never quite seem to do what it was supposed to?"
  • "Agile enemies such as the Taliban are unlikely to wait for our sclerotic acquisition systems to catch up".[7]

It was formally presented to Parliament in October 2009, with the MOD accepting its two main themes: a need to bring equipment plans into line with likely available resources; and a need to improve equipment programme planning, management and delivery.



  1. ^ Info-Dynamics Research, "Where are they now? The 1997/1998 Special Advisers to the Labour Government", GMB: April 2006 Briefing, p18, accessed 23.09.10
  2. ^ a b c TSL, "Bernard Gray", accessed 23.09.10
  3. ^ Cable and Wireless plc, "2005/06Annual Report", p43, 31.05.06, accessed 23.09.10
  4. ^ Ministry of Defence, "MoD Press Release", 15 October 2009, accessed 23 September 2010
  5. ^ Bernard Gray, "Review of Acquisition for the Secretary of State for Defence", October 2009, accessed 23 September 2010
  6. ^ David Blackburn, "A clear dividing line on defence", The Spectator, 6 August 2009, accessed 23 September 2010
  7. ^ Michael Evans, "Leaked MoD report by Bernard Gray damns 'incompetent' equipment programme", The Times, 24 August 2009, accessed 23 September 2010

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Kevin O'Donoghue
Chief of Defence Materiel