Gus O'Donnell

Gus O'Donnell

Sir Augustine Thomas O'Donnell, KCB, born October 1, 1952,cite book
title=Who's Who|date=1999
] known as Sir Gus O'Donnell (and informally as GODFact|date=September 2008), is the Cabinet Secretary, the highest ranking civil servant in the British Civil Service. He is consequently, under current practice, Head of the Home Civil Service, which means he has authority over all civil servants except those who are part of the Diplomatic Service.


O'Donnell was educated at Salesian College, Battersea, reading economics at the University of Warwick before making himself eligible Fact|date=February 2007 for the unreformed civil service fast stream by taking his M.Phil. degree at Nuffield College, Oxford. He served as a lecturer for the University of Glasgow in the Political Economy Department from 1975 until 1979, when he joined the Treasury as an economist. In 1985, he then joined the British Embassy in Washington, serving as the First Secretary of the Economics division for four years. Then, in 1989, O'Donnell became Press Secretary for the Chancellor of the Exchequer before transferring next door to serve as Press Secretary to the Prime Minister from 1990 to 1994.

From 1997 to 1998, O'Donnell was the United Kingdom's Executive Director to both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, again in Washington, before returning to the Treasury to serve as both Director of Macroeconomic Policy and Prospects and also Head of the Government Economics Service, with overall responsibility for the professional economists in Her Majesty's Government. A year later, in 1999, he was appointed Managing Director of Macroeconomic Policy and International Finance, with responsibility for fiscal policy, international development, and European Union economic and monetary union.

Cabinet Secretary

In 2002, O'Donnell took over from Sir Andrew Turnbull, now Lord Turnbull of Enfield, as Permanent Secretary of the Treasury when Sir Andrew became Cabinet Secretary; three years later, on 15 June, 2005, it was announced that Sir Gus would again replace Turnbull, this time as Cabinet Secretary, on the latter's retirement at the end of that summer. He took up office in September 2005.

O'Donnell is known for his informal style - two days a week he works in an open plan office, the first Cabinet Secretary to do so.

In his role as Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus was responsible for reviewing Christopher Meyer's controversial memoirs, "DC Confidential", in November 2005. The previous month he had told the Public Administration Select Committee that it was "wrong" for civil servants to publish personal memoirs.

Personal interests

He is also a keen sportsman, having played football for the University of Warwick First XI and for Oxford, earning two Blues in 1973/4 and 1974/5. While Permanent Secretary at the Treasury he won a football medal at the annual Civil Service Sports Day - the first Permanent Secretary to do so. He is an avid follower of Manchester United. In addition, Gus O'Donnell has played for the Mandarins Cricket Club for many years, the third Cabinet Secretary to do so (the others being Sir Robin Butler and Sir Andrew Turnbull).

The youngest of five children of Irish Catholic descentFact|date=May 2008, Gus O'Donnell attended Salesian College, Battersea, and is now a governor of the school. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2005. He is married, with one daughter.



External links

* [,9061,1507090,00.html "The Guardian" article on O'Donnell becoming Cabinet Secretary]
* [ "BBC News" background profile article on O'Donnell on his attaining Permanent Secretaryship]
* [ "BBC News" background profile article on his attaining Cabinet Secretaryship]
* [ "Warwick Magazine" interview with O'Donnell]
* [ "Cabinet Office" biography]
* [ Gus O'Donnells vision for the Civil Service]
* [ Letter from Sir Gus O'Donnell to the publishers of Sir Christopher Meyer's book, "DC Confidential"] , on 15 November 2005.

Offices held

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