Simon Case, who was made permanent secretary at 10 Downing Street earlier this year, will be announced as the cabinet secretary on Tuesday, according to the Financial Times.
The former private secretary to both David Cameron and Theresa May was poached from Kensington Palace in May by the man he is now set to replace, Sir Mark Sedwill, to oversee Downing Street’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Downing Street’s announcement in June that Sedwill would step down in September both as Whitehall’s top civil servant and the PM’s national security adviser was widely seen as part of a coup driven by Cummings to replace long-serving mandarins with Johnson loyalists as he sought to centralise power in the prime minister’s office. Sedwill’s responsibilities as national security adviser went to long-time Johnson ally David Frost, currently negotiating post-Brexit trade arrangements with the EU.
At 41, Mr Case will be the youngest occupant since 1916 of the cabinet secretary’s role, usually the pinnacle of a long career in Whitehall departments.
He was credited with modernising the operations of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a two-year stint as private secretary to William when the fraught relations between the second in line to the throne and his brother Harry and sister-in-law Meghan were thrust into the media spotlight.
After working as private secretary to Cameron from 2012 to 2014, Case spent a year as director of strategy for the government’s secret eavesdropping centre GCHQ before returning to 10 Downing Street as the PM’s principal private secretary following the death of Chris Martin. He stayed on at No 10 for 18 months under Ms May before taking up a post as director-general of the UK/EU Partnership in 2017.
Born in Bristol, Case studied history at Cambridge and took a PhD from Queen Mary University of London, joining the civil service in 2006 as a policy adviser in the Ministry of Defence. He later moved to the Northern Ireland Office and Cabinet Office, where he served as head of the Olympic Secretariat overseeing the delivery of the 2012 London Games. Mr Johnson is expected to confirm the appointment at the first meeting of cabinet after the summer break on Tuesday, before an official announcement later in the day.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said only: “An official announcement on the new Cabinet Secretary will be made on Tuesday 1 September.”
Sir Mark Sedwill is one of five heads of Whitehall departments to depart unexpectedly early since Mr Johnson’s election victory in December, alongside the top officials in the Foreign Office, Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Department for Education.