Sir Bob Kerslake is new Civil Service boss

Sir Bob Kerslake Sir Bob Kerslake is a former chief executive of Sheffield Council

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Sir Bob Kerslake has been named as the new head of the Civil Service.

He will take up his new post alongside the newly appointed Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood.

Both will start in January 2012 and both will be paid the same salary of £200,000.

A No 10 spokesman said Sir Bob had been appointed after an open competition process. He declined to say how many other senior civil servants had applied for the post.

Sir Bob will also continue in his current role as the top civil servant at the Department of Communities and Local Government.

He replaces Sir Gus O'Donnell, who has held the post of civil service head - as well as cabinet secretary - for six years.

His retirement on 31 December signals a major overhaul at the top of the Civil Service, with his role being carved into three parts.

Mr Heywood will be the prime minister's principal policy adviser as well as being the new cabinet secretary - but not head of the civil service as Sir Gus had been.

'Wealth of experience'

Prime Minister David Cameron decided to split up the roles because of the scale of the work involved.

Mr Cameron said Sir Bob, a former chief executive of Sheffield Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, would bring a "wealth of experience" to the role.

He added: "This is a time of significant change and challenge for the Civil Service, driven by the demands for new skills and capabilities, and the delivery of substantial financial savings without compromising on standards.

"I feel absolutely confident that Bob and Jeremy will provide the leadership to ensure that our civil service continues to be admired around the world for its strength and professionalism."

Sir Bob Kerslake said he was "delighted and honoured" to be offered the role at an important time for the Civil Service, which employs more than 450,000 people.

"We have immense strengths in the service that we should be justly proud of, but we must also embrace change. I want to engage all parts of the Civil Service in the reform process."

The recruitment process was led by Sir David Normington, First Civil Service Commissioner and the former top civil servant at the Home Office.

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