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Sir Thomas Whinfield Scholar KCB (born 17 December 1968) is a British civil servant currently serving as Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury.[1] Scholar was previously the Prime Minister's Adviser on European and Global Issues in the Cabinet Office.[2]

Sir Tom Scholar

Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury
Assumed office
June 2016
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Boris Johnson
ChancellorPhilip Hammond
Sajid Javid
Preceded bySir Nick Macpherson
Prime Minister's Adviser for Europe and Global Issues
In office
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded bySir Jon Cunliffe
Succeeded byOliver Robbins
Second Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury
In office
ChancellorAlistair Darling
George Osborne
Preceded byJohn Kingman
Succeeded bySharon White
Principal Private Secretary to the
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
27 June 2007 – 23 January 2008
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byOliver Robbins
Succeeded byJeremy Heywood
Downing Street Chief of Staff
In office
27 June 2007 – 23 January 2008
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byJonathan Powell
Succeeded byStephen Carter
Personal details
Born (1968-12-17) 17 December 1968 (age 50)
Alma materTrinity Hall, Cambridge, London School of Economics
OccupationCivil servant


Scholar joined HM Treasury in 1992, rising to Principal Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1997, serving Gordon Brown for four years until 2001. Following that posting, Scholar served as the British representative on the boards of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, attached to the British Embassy in Washington as Minister for Economic Affairs for six years.[2]

In 2007, following Brown taking over the leadership of the Labour Party and thus the office of Prime Minister, Scholar returned to the UK taking over the two roles of Downing Street Chief of Staff from Jonathan Powell and of Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister from Oliver Robbins.[2] After six months, Scholar left Number 10 to return to the Treasury as the Managing Director of its International and Finance Directorate in January 2008. The next year, Scholar was promoted to be the Second Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, taking over from John Kingman.[3] In this role, Scholar was a director of the nationalised bank, Northern Rock.[4]

Four years later, in 2013 Scholar returned to Downing Street, now under David Cameron, to run the European and Global Issues Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. As such he was the Prime Minister's most senior adviser on international affairs until his appointment on 11 March 2016 as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury.[2][5][6] As of September 2015, Scholar was paid a salary of between £150,000 and £154,999, making him one of the 328 most highly paid people in the British public sector at that time.[7]

In March 2016 the government announced that Scholar would succeed Sir Nick Macpherson as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury in April 2016.[1] Scholar was replaced at the Cabinet Office by Oliver Robbins, who took over the role as a "post-Brexit" unit in June 2016,[8] which the next month became the Department for Exiting the European Union when Theresa May created her first Cabinet.[9]

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2017 Birthday Honours.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Scholar was educated at Dulwich College (1979–1986),[2] Trinity Hall, Cambridge (where he read Economics[11]) and the London School of Economics.[2] He has two younger brothers, Richard and John. Scholar's father, Sir Michael Scholar, was also a civil servant who was employed as the non-executive chairman of the British government's Statistics Board and was the former President of St John's College, Oxford. He is married to Fabiola Altimari and has three daughters.


  1. ^ a b "New Permanent Secretary to the Treasury announced - News stories - GOV.UK". Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f A & C Black (2016). SCHOLAR, Thomas Whinfield. Who's Who 2016 (online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Tom Scholar - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Investor Relations | Virgin Money UK". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  5. ^ "New Second Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury appointed - News stories - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  6. ^ Traynor, Ian; Watt, Nicholas (16 February 2016). "Meet the sherpas: the key people quietly negotiating UK-EU reforms". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Senior officials 'high earners' salaries as at 30 September 2015 - GOV.UK". 17 December 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Oliver Robbins announced as head of Cabinet Office Brexit unit | Civil Service World". Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  9. ^ "New ministerial appointment July 2016: Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union - Press releases - GOV.UK". Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  10. ^ "No. 61962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2017. p. B3.
  11. ^ Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons - Public Accounts - Minutes of Evidence". Retrieved 27 August 2016.
Government offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Powell
Downing Street Chief of Staff
Succeeded by
Stephen Carter
Preceded by
Oliver Robbins
Principal Private Secretary
to the Prime Minister

Succeeded by
Jeremy Heywood
Preceded by
John Kingman
Second Permanent Secretary,
HM Treasury

Succeeded by
Sharon White
Preceded by
Sir Jon Cunliffe
Prime Minister's Adviser,
European and Global Issues

Succeeded by
Oliver Robbins
Preceded by
Sir Nicholas Macpherson
Permanent Secretary,
HM Treasury