Darren Grech, the acting Director of Education, was yesterday appointed by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo to be the next Chief Secretary of the Government of Gibraltar.
Mr Grech, who said the appointment was an “honour and a privilege”, will assume his new role on February 12, upon the retirement of Chief Secretary Ernest Gomez.
The role of Chief Secretary is one of the senior offices reserved for direct appointment by the Chief Minister.
In a press statement Mr Picardo commended Mr Grech for his “great talent and ability”, adding he would make an “excellent” Chief Secretary.
Mr Picardo had intended to grant the position to someone young enough to develop into the role for at least 10 years.
“I think it is important that the role should be filled by someone who will be in post over the lifetime of successive Parliaments,” said Mr Picardo.
“Darren is a hugely competent professional who has demonstrated to me that he has the capacity to lead a team and to deliver a programme whilst remaining popular with the people he works with.”
On this appointment, Mr Picardo said he felt comfortable Mr Grech could join the team leading Gibraltar during these “challenging times”.
Mr Picardo noted many other great candidates had been identified, but Mr Grech was “undoubtedly” the right choice.
Current Chief Secretary Mr Gomez was also thanked for his work over the past six years.
“He and I have worked together ‘hand in glove’ on myriad issues of great importance for Gibraltar,” Mr Picardo said.
“Our work together has cemented the friendship and respect that was first kindled when I was a pupil of Ernest’s at Bayside. I cannot thank Ernest enough for the way in which he has carried out his functions as Chief Secretary.”
Mr Gomez has been supported in his role by Senior Administrator, Joey Britto, who ruled himself out of assuming the occupation of Chief Secretary.
Mr Britto will retire in March this year and would not have been able to serve in successive Parliaments.
Following his appointment Mr Grech said it was a “privilege and honour” to take up the position.
“I accept this immense challenge fully aware of the difficulties that lie ahead as we try to shape the Gibraltar of tomorrow,” Mr Grech said.
“With hard work and commitment I am sure we will succeed. Our aim is to deliver on all fronts in the public service allowing the private sector to thrive in the interest of Gibraltar.”
Mr Grech said he will challenge his office to improve in areas where it is needed and will hold “direct and honest” conversations with all stakeholders.
He promises “absolute transparency” and will advise the Chief Minister accordingly.
Mr Grech thanked Mr Britto for his guidance, and his staff at the Department of Education, in particular Dympna Holmes, Lilli Gomes and Sarah Payas, and all the Head Teachers.
Lastly he thanked his wife Gayle, and children Gabriella, Anna and Nicholas, and his parents.
“Without their support none of this would have been possible,” Mr Grech said.
The position of Director of Education is currently open for applications.