UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Learning and Skills Council Chief Executive to Lead New Skills Agency

Press Release   •   Dec 24, 2009 10:06 GMT

Learning and Skills Council Chief Executive Geoff Russell has today been appointed as the first Chief Executive of the new Skills Funding Agency.

Announcing the appointment, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, Kevin Brennan, said:

“I am very pleased to confirm Geoff Russell’s appointment as the first Chief Executive of the new Skills Funding Agency.  Geoff Russell’s experience leading the Learning and Skills Council since March, and his career background in audit, financial management and consultancy, means he is well placed to help build a skills funding system that is flexible and addresses the needs of learners, training providers and business.

“The Skills Funding Agency will play a critical role in helping Government deliver its skills ambitions, set out in our national Skills Strategy.  We have recently passed new legislation to set up the Agency, which will come into operation next April.  It will have a strong focus on supporting the skills our economy needs to compete globally.”

Geoff Russell said:

“I am delighted to be taking up the Chief Executive post at the new Skills Funding Agency on 1 April.  The Skills Funding Agency will be at the heart of the economic recovery, delivering a skilled workforce for the 21st century, responding effectively to demand and supporting achievement, innovation and enterprise.

“In the meantime, I shall continue in post as the Chief Executive of the LSC until it is time to close the book on what overall has been a very successful organisation in achieving better outcomes for learners and employers.”

“David Cragg, the Interim Chief Executive of the Agency, has been doing an excellent job of preparing the Skills Funding Agency to become fully operational from April next year, as a much leaner and streamlined organisation.”

The Skills Funding Agency takes over the responsibility for adult skills from the LSC from April 2010.  It will work closely with Regional Development Agencies and Local Authorities who will deliver skills at a local level.

Notes to editors

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council, aged 51, was born in Canada and has been a British resident for over 20 years.

Geoff qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1985, joining KPMG in Toronto in 1982 and moving to the UK in 1988 to work in a variety of industry sectors and countries in the areas of audit, corporate finance, forensic investigation and transaction services.  He held several senior posts for KPMG. In 1994, he was appointed a partner in KPMG London’s Financial Services practice and became Executive Partner Global Banking in 1998. In 2002 he transferred to KPMG International, working for the Global Chairman as the Head of Practice Development.

Geoff accepted a two year secondment to HM Treasury in 2005 as Director of Financial Management Change, responsible for developing and implementing financial management policy across Whitehall.

Following Geoff’s time at HMT, he helped develop financial management solutions for KPMG’s Government Advisory Practice, before retiring to offer his private and public sector experience to government.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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