Chief of British outsourcing giant Serco Group Rupert Soames said he would “outsource myself” as he announces his retirement.
Soames, 63, will step down from the role and board by the end of this year and will be succeeded by Mark Irwin, the chief of the firm’s UK & Europe division.
“It has been the privilege of my working life to lead Serco for the last eight years, but it is now time for me to outsource myself,” Soames said in a statement.
“As it is for Serco’s customers, who are dedicated public servants facing the immense challenges of delivering high quality public services in difficult times,” he said.
The company played a key role during the pandemic and was paid more than £600m to run about a fifth of the Covid-19 testing sites and contract-tracing call centre workers.
Meanwhile, Irwin joined Serco in 2013, and between 2014 and 2020 ran Serco’s Asia-Pacific region, before moving from Australia to lead the UK & Europe Division.
Prior to Serco, he had worked in several private equity portfolio businesses in the US and China, and also worked for eight years for GE in the US and Australia.
On taking up the position of group CEO on 1 January 2023, Mark Irwin’s basic annual salary will be £800,000.
Serco shares are down six per cent this afternoon following the news.
Earlier this month, Serco snapped up Swiss specialist immigration firm ORS in a £39m deal.
The FTSE 250 firm said the deal would allow it to bolster its services in immigration services and add scale to its European operations.
The acquisition will enable the firm to “work with and support government customers across Europe” as they grapple with growing need for immigration and asylum seeker support, Serco said.
ORS, which has 2000 employees and operates across Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy, has a 30 year history in the sector providing services to public sector clients across asylum and immigration services.