SFO appoints interim head as Green steps down

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has appointed chief operating officer Mark Thompson as interim director as former head David Green QC prepares to step down at the end of this month.

Thompson joined the SFO in 2004 and was appointed chief operating officer in October 2016. He will take on the role on 21 April, when Green steps down.

Green headed the SFO for four years, and was featured in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2018 due to his more “muscular” approach to litigation as a sign of the body’s ongoing success.

Thompson said: “The search for a new director has been successful, although the individual cannot take up the post immediately.

“In the meantime it’s important that the SFO pursues its cases with vigour and discharges its legal and corporate obligations responsibly. My role will be to ensure we continue to do this, and to ensure a smooth transition when the new director arrives.”

Under Green’s tenure, the SFO has secured a £497m deferred prosecution agreement with Rolls Royce and a further £129m agreement with Tesco. This was the culmination of seven years of hard work investigating both companies.

Green still has to confirm his next move, although he was rumoured to be in talks with several US firms.

Commenting on the SFO’s new appointment, WilmerHale UK investigations and criminal litigation practice counsel Alison Geary said: “This announcement sparks more questions than it answers.  Clearly the permanent candidate is external to the SFO. It is difficult to tell where this new candidate is coming from, why their name cannot be revealed or how long it will be before they are in place. The SFO is, once again, left in limbo.”

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