The UK’s Attorney General’s Office said today that it has identified the next director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), but it did not name the person selected. The Attorney General’s Office said that it could not yet publicly identify the new director because the person was “managing their exit from their current position" and completing the final stages of the appointment process.

The current director, David Green CB QC, is due to step down in 10 days, on 20 April 2018. The new unidentified director will not take up the post immediately, although the Attorney General’s Office said that the appointment will take place during this year. In the interim period, the SFO’s current chief operating officer, Mark Thompson, has been appointed as interim director from 21 April 2018. Mr. Thompson was formerly the head of the SFO’s Proceeds of Crime Division and its chief financial officer. Mr. Thompson’s appointment should ensure continuity for the various investigations and trials that the SFO is currently conducting.

The attorney general’s announcement also seems to dispel rumours that the SFO’s current general counsel, Alun Milford, would replace Mr. Green. Mr. Milford, who joined the SFO in 2012, is a former head of the Organised Crime Division at the Crown Prosecution Service and was considered by many to be a likely candidate for the new role. At present, Mr. Milford looks set to remain in the general counsel role. 

Today’s announcement suggests that the new director will be appointed from outside the SFO’s current staff but gives no indication as to whether the replacement will come from another government department or from private practice. Some media commentators have speculated that the new appointee may have been chosen from amongst the pool of senior barristers currently instructed by the SFO on its largest cases.

This article was first published in Law360.