Jeremy Heywood

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Sir Jeremy Heywood
Sir Jeremy Heywood at the Civil Service Board meeting, January 2015
Sir Jeremy Heywood at the Civil Service Board meeting, January 2015
Cabinet Secretary
Assumed office
1 January 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Sir Gus O'Donnell
Downing Street Permanent Secretary
In office
11 May 2010 – 1 January 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by Office Abolished
Downing Street Chief of Staff
In office
10 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Stephen Carter
Succeeded by Edward Llewellyn
Principal Private Secretary to the
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
23 January 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Tom Scholar
Succeeded by James Bowler
In office
4 June 1999 – 10 July 2003
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Ivan Rogers
Succeeded by Sir John Holmes
Personal details
Born (1961-12-31) 31 December 1961 (age 54)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Suzanne Elizabeth Cook
Alma mater Bootham School
Hertford College, Oxford
London School of Economics
Harvard Business School

Sir Jeremy John Heywood, KCB, CVO (born 31 December 1961) is a senior British civil servant who has been the Cabinet Secretary since 1 January 2012, and Head of the Home Civil Service since September 2014.[1] He has previously served twice as the Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, as well as the Downing Street Chief of Staff and the first and only Downing Street Permanent Secretary.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Heywood was educated at Bootham School,[4] York, an independent school with a Quaker background and ethos, before taking a BA in History and Economics at Hertford College, Oxford and an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. He also studied for a semester at Harvard Business School.[5]


Heywood joined HM Treasury in 1992 and became the Principal Private Secretary to Chancellor Norman Lamont at the age of 30, having to help mitigate the fallout from Black Wednesday after less than a month in the job.[6] Heywood remained in this role throughout the 1990s under Chancellors Kenneth Clarke and Gordon Brown before being promoted to be the Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1999. He stayed in this position until 2003, when he left the civil service in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry where it emerged that Heywood claimed to have never minuted meetings in the Prime Ministerial offices about David Kelly, a job he was required to do. He emerged to become the managing director of the UK Investment Banking Division at Morgan Stanley where he became embroiled in the Southern Cross Healthcare scandal that almost saw 30,000 elderly people being made homeless.[7] Upon Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister in 2007, Heywood returned to government as Head of Domestic Policy and Strategy at the Cabinet Office. Political commentator Peter Oborne, in the wake of this appointment described Heywood as "a perfect manifestation of everything that has gone so very wrong with the British civil service over the past 15 years."[8]

He would later go on to resume his old job of Principal Private Secretary, as well as being appointed the Downing Street Chief of Staff after the resignation of Stephen Carter.[9] In 2010, after David Cameron became Prime Minister, Heywood was replaced as Chief of Staff by Edward Llewellyn and as Principal Private Secretary by James Bowler. Heywood returned to the civil service and was subsequently appointed the first Downing Street Permanent Secretary, a role created with the purpose of liaising between the Cabinet Secretary and the Chief of Staff within the Cabinet Office.

Cabinet Secretary[edit]

On 11 October 2011 it was announced that Heywood would replace Sir Gus O'Donnell as the Cabinet Secretary, the highest-ranked official in Her Majesty's Civil Service, upon the latter's retirement in January 2012. It was also announced that Heywood would not concurrently hold the roles of Head of the Home Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office, as would usually be the case. These positions instead went to Sir Bob Kerslake and Ian Watmore respectively. On 1 January 2012, Heywood was knighted and officially made Cabinet Secretary. In July 2014 it was announced that Kerslake would step down and Heywood would take the title of Head of the HCS.[1]


Heywood was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2008, before being made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2012 New Year Honours.[10][11] The Parliamentary Public Administration Committee cited the example of Heywood's knighthood as an automatic honour granted due to his position and not for exceptional service.[12]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • Jeremy Heywood (1961–1999)
  • Jeremy Heywood CVO (1999–2008)
  • Jeremy Heywood CB, CVO (2008–2012)
  • Sir Jeremy Heywood KCB, CVO (2012–present)


  1. ^ a b "Sir Jeremy Heywood". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  2. ^ Senior Appointments, 10 Downing Street website, 23 January 2008, retrieved 19 January 2010 
  3. ^ "Cabinet Office Structure Charts" (PDF). Cabinet Office HM Government. May 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Bootham School Register. York, England: Bootham Old Scholars Association. 2011. 
  5. ^ "Jeremy Heywood". Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Profile: Jeremy Heywood – the next Cabinet Secretary". BBC News. 21 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Nick Robinson (12 June 2007). "A new and vital role". BBC News. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "The most powerful unelected man in Britain... and you will never have heard of him". Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  9. ^ "Brown chooses former Blair aide". BBC News. 12 June 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60009. p. 2. 31 December 2011.
  11. ^ "New Year Honours 2012: full list of recipients". Telegraph. 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  12. ^ "Link to House of Commons Public Trust Honour System Page". Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Holmes
Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Ivan Rogers
Preceded by
Tom Scholar
Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
Succeeded by
James Bowler
Preceded by
Stephen Carter
Downing Street Chief of Staff
Succeeded by
Edward Llewellyn
Preceded by
Office Created
Downing Street Permanent Secretary
Succeeded by
Office Abolished
Preceded by
Sir Gus O'Donnell
Cabinet Secretary
Preceded by
Sir Bob Kerslake
Head of the Home Civil Service