Less than a 12 months ago, Sir Mark Sedwill welcomed a smiling Boris Johnson to Downing Road just after he grew to become prime minister.
Now, it is Sir Mark’s convert to signal his exit from No 10.
Maybe far more so than any of his recent predecessors, he aptly suits the historic description of cabinet secretary as currently being a person of the most impressive people today in the state the community have under no circumstances read of.
The 55-calendar year previous vocation diplomat may not have experienced the significant temperament of some of those people who proceeded him in the part, these as Robert Armstrong, Robin Butler and Gus O’Donnell.
But he was arguably as impressive and influential as any of them.
He recommended Boris Johnson, and just before him Theresa Could, all through the eye of the Brexit storm and all over a turbulent twelve-month interval in which neither prime minister had a the vast majority in Parliament.
He was centre phase, albeit virtually invariably behind the scenes, in some of the most controversial decisions of the past 18 months, such as Boris Johnson’s unlawful suspension of Parliament and the snap common election.
And, compared with his predecessors, he also experienced unprecedented input when it arrived to decisions on countrywide protection, acting concurrently as the PM’s national stability adviser.
Sir Mark took about as cupboard secretary in November 2018, pursuing the loss of life from most cancers of Sir Jeremy Heyward – acquiring loaded in for him formerly while he was receiving therapy.
Appointed without having a formal recruitment process by Theresa May possibly, he won the ex-PM’s belief even though serving as her top rated civil servant in the Property Office for four a long time.
- UK’s major civil servant announces exit
Prior to that, he worked in the Overseas Office for a lot more than twenty decades, latterly as Ambassador to Afghanistan and as Nato’s senior civilian consultant in that war-torn state.
Though advising Mrs May, he led a higher-profile investigation into alleged leaks of information from the National Protection Council over the Chinese know-how agency Huawei, which led to the resignation of the then defence secretary Gavin Williamson.
This produced him some strong enemies on the Conservative benches, particularly amid Leave supporters – some of whom blamed the civil service for disheartening the government’s method on Brexit.
Though seldom venturing into general public controversy, Sir Mark was swift to make his inner thoughts regarded when he thought the neutrality and independence of the civil assistance was staying impugned.
He came to the defence of Sir Kim Darroch just after he was correctly compelled out as US Ambassador final calendar year, describing leaks foremost to his marginalisation by Donald Trump as a “shocking betrayal of have faith in”.
And appearing ahead of MPs earlier this calendar year, he explained Philip Rutnam’s controversial resignation from the Dwelling Business office, amid a row more than alleged bullying by the home secretary Priti Patel, as “regrettable”.
Along with other primary figures in Whitehall, Sir Mark – who is married with a single daughter – contracted coronavirus all through the peak of the epidemic but ongoing performing in the course of his ailment.
But there have been escalating rumblings in Whitehall about the civil service’s response to the crisis and questions about regardless of whether, presented his twin obligations, Sir Mark experienced as well substantially on his plate.
The union symbolizing senior civil servants – the Fda – reported Sir Mark had been intentionally undermined, and accused No 10 “or all those all-around it” of conducting “cowardly” nameless briefings in opposition to him.
Food and drug administration Common Secretary Dave Penman explained the way Sir Mark experienced been handled was probably to set off proficient candidates for identical positions in the upcoming.
The roles of cabinet secretary and national safety adviser will now be separated with David Frost, the PM’s main Brexit negotiator, taking on the latter.
Right after he leaves in September, Sir Mark will sit as a cross-bench peer in the Property of Lords and also chair a new panel on worldwide overall economy security as the Uk will take around the presidency of the G7.