Nick Dyer will be the interim permanent secretary of the U.K. Department for International Development, a spokesperson for the agency has confirmed to Devex.
Dyer is the current DFID director-general for policy and global programmes and will replace Mark Lowcock in the top civil servant job at DFID, as Lowcock leaves behind a 32-year career at DFID to assume his new role as under-secretary-general of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations.
DFID’s confirmation came as speculation surfaced in the U.K. development sector that Dyer would take the position following Lowcock’s resignation on May 10.
“I’d heard the name Nick Dyer mentioned as who will be standing in as an interim,” Baroness Shas Sheehan, a member of the House of Lords and the shadow secretary of state for international development for the Liberal Democrats, told Devex. “There will be a full recruitment process later of course at the right time.”
Before becoming director-general of policy and programmes at DFID in Nov. 2013, Dyer held several roles at the agency, most recently director of the policy division, head of DFID Malawi, and head of the European Union Department. Dyer began his career at DFID in 1998 as senior economic advisor of DFID East Africa.
The permanent secretary acts as the main go-between for the politically appointed secretary of state and the civil servants working in the agency. The permanent secretary typically accompanies the secretary of state in meetings and public appearances, and plays an instrumental role in maintaining continuity and alignment of the often shorter term and very public work of the secretary of state with the main DFID workforce. Because the role is not politically appointed, the permanent secretary will have to be selected through the standard civil service candidate process.
DFID chose not to comment on the news beyond confirming Dyer’s new role due to pre-election rules, or “purdah” rules, which limit the ability of civil servants to make public announcements. The agency confirmed it will release more information about the selection process after the election on June 8.
However, Rashid Khalikov, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia, told Devex on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum for the Middle East North Africa region that Lowcock will take up his position at the U.N. in “late October or early September,” in time for the U.N. General Assembly, meaning the interim DFID permanent secretary will likely be in place by then.