Whiteman is currently director general of operational systems transformation at the Home Office, having joined central government as chief executive of the UK Border Agency in September 2011. He will take over from current CIPFA chief executive Steve Freer in September.
Whiteman also has a long and distinguished career in local government. He served as managing director of the council-focused Improvement & Development Agency from 2010 to 2011 and before that worked in London local government. He was chief executive of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham from 2005 to 2010 and previously held a range of senior roles at the London Borough of Lewisham, including that of chief financial officer and director of resources.
Announcing Whiteman’s appointment, CIPFA president Sir Tony Redmond said: ‘We’re delighted to be appointing Rob to the post of CIPFA’s chief executive. He will be joining us at a pivotal time for the organisation – as our members wrestle with the impact of austerity on UK public services and we continue our work around the world with a range of partners to improve global public financial management.’
Redmond added that Whiteman had an ‘outstanding record’ in achieving change and innovation across public services. ‘We are confident that we will be seeing CIPFA’s influence and operations go from strength to strength under his leadership.’
Whiteman told Public Finance that he was ‘honoured’ to be taking the role, particularly in the current climate of challenging public spending settlements.
‘CIPFA and its members are key to ensuring an accountancy profession that delivers the highest standards of public financial management and governance both in the UK and internationally,’ he said.
Whiteman has been heavily involved with the public finance accountancy profession’s representative bodies. He was a core adviser to the Local Government Association and was secretary to the Society of London Treasurers. He also sat on the CIPFA council between 2004 and 2006.
At the Home Office, Whiteman oversaw a £1.6bn budget and 24,000 staff. He worked closely with Home Secretary Theresa May to bring the UK Border Agency back within the Home Office this year and to split it into three organisations: the Border Force; UK Visas & Immigration; and UK Immigration Enforcement. Since March 2013, Whiteman has been co-ordinating the former agency’s interactions with other Home Office operations.
May paid tribute to Whiteman’s work at the Home Office. ‘He leaves with my very best wishes for the future and I am sure he will be a great success in his important new role at CIPFA,’ she said.
Civil service head Sir Bob Kerslake added: ‘Rob will bring tremendous experience and energy to CIPFA at this key time for public services. He has a strong track record of organisational leadership and I am sure will successfully focus the institute on the fiscal challenge in the UK whilst also furthering its high reputation overseas.’