Thinking Anglicans

CofE Announces new Secretary General

The Archbishops’ Council has announced that William Nye has been selected to be its next Secretary-General and Secretary General of the General Synod of the Church of England

CofE Announces new Secretary General
10 June 2015

The Archbishops’ Council are delighted to announce William Nye has been selected to be its next Secretary-General and Secretary General of the General Synod of the Church of England. He will succeed William Fittall who is retiring at the end of November after thirteen years in this post.

William Nye was selected unanimously by a panel comprising both Archbishops, seven other members of the Council (including two officers of the General Synod) and the Chair of the Appointments Committee. The recommendation of the panel was unanimously endorsed by a meeting of the full Council in May 2015.

William Nye brings 25 years of experience from the Civil Service and Whitehall. His roles and departments have included National Security at the Cabinet Office, Diplomacy, Intelligence and Defence at HM Treasury and Arts at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

For the last four years he has worked as the Principal Private Secretary to Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall where he has led on matters of significant public sensitivity and organisational effectiveness.

Mr. Nye, 49, is a long serving and active member of the Church of England where he has served as a PCC member for nearly 20 years and a Churchwarden for around 10 years. He has also served as a Deanery Synod representative.

The selection process for the new Secretary General was both extensive and thorough. A wide selection of candidates from inside and outside the Church was sought and a field of around 30 candidates was attracted. The Council was supported in its search by a leading recruitment agency.

The Shortlist comprised 5 applicants drawn from public, private and third sectors. There were many strong applications, in the end the panel selected the candidate who was best able to fulfil the broad scope of the role and would be best able to serve in the priority areas.

In his interviews William Nye demonstrated great commitment to the vision of a Church which will support future generations. He brought great insight and demonstrated great sensitivity to the needs of the dioceses. He impressed the panel with his understanding of the challenges that the church faces and the depth of thinking as to how those challenges can be met and opportunities exploited. William pointed out that after 25 years of public service he wishes now to help the Church to thrive on behalf of the whole of our country.

William Nye is due to start work at Church House at the beginning of November in preparation for taking up his new responsibilities on 1 December. Under Standing Order 123 of the Synod’s Standing Orders, the person appointed by the Archbishops’ Council as its Secretary General is also, subject to the approval of the Synod, Secretary General of the Synod. In accordance with the Standing Order that approval will be deemed to be given unless, by midnight on Wednesday 24 June 40 or more members have given notice to the Clerk of the Synod in accordance with Standing Order 12 that they wish the appointment to be debated by the Synod.

William Nye – Biographical details

Mr Nye was born in 1966 and educated at Christ’s Hospital, Horsham. He has a BA in Economics from Cambridge University and an MA in Economics from Yale University, in the United States.

He joined the Civil Service after university, starting in the Treasury. His subsequent senior appointments include:

1998-2000: Head of Arts policy at the Department of Culture Media and Sport
2001-2002: Head of Defence, Diplomacy and Intelligence at the Treasury
2002-2005: Director of Performance and Finance at the Home Office
2005-2007: Director of Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence at the Home Office
2007-2008: Director, Law, Security and International at the Home Office
2008-2011: Director in the National Security Secretariat at the Cabinet Office
2011-2015: Principal Private Secretary to The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall


  • JCF says:

    Stand by for endless “Bill Nye the Science Guy” jokes! ;-/

  • James A says:

    “Mr. Nye, 49, is a long serving and active member of the Church of England…” Come on, C of E Comms Unit! The C of E is not a membership organisation – and you cannot be a member of it. Yet another sign, I fear, of the creeping congregationalism of our Church and the way the senior leadership collude with it. This drawing lines of ‘membership’ is deeply at odds with our ecclesiology – and the mission potential it is supposed to serve.

  • John says:

    Marking makes me bilious but I’m sure I’d anyway find the tone of this announcement emetic. How smug and self-satisfied is our Establishment!

  • M says:

    Another ex civil service bod…. Have I missed something or is the church simply an arm of central govt

  • Robert ian Williams says:

    Its funny they haven’t put down whether he is married and has children or not..they always do that with bishops.

    However what are the betting stakes that he is sound on SSM?

  • joseph Golightly says:

    M, of course the Church of England is an arm of central government. That’s its history and the ultimate decider of all things churchy

  • Anthony Archer says:

    This looks a good appointment. It is no surprise that once again the post has been filled by a Whitehall civil servant and, in William Nye’s case, also a royal courtier of four years. Many will see him in the Mawer/Fittall mould and wonder why the appointment panel did not go for someone with a different background. The answer is that they probably had a diverse shortlist (I hope it contained women) but that Nye had the best balance of skills and experience. The Secretary-General spends much of his time overseeing the drafting of myriad papers, liaising with Lambeth, the Royal Household, Downing Street from time to time, the Anglican Communion Office, helping the House of Bishops arrive at a consensus (some task) and effectively overseeing the General Synod (with the assistance of the Clerk). The role also involves running the Archbishops’ Council, a body now some 16 years old and still only a teenager. It is a nightmare job and needs steel, intellect and a robust constitution. Frankly the Church of England is most fortunate to be able to attract people of this calibre. It was always said that Sir Philip Mawer sacrificed the opportunity to become a Permanent Secretary, and probably William Fittall as well. I wish him well.

  • William will do great justice to the post the Church of England will benefit greatly from his calm dignified personable able manner and efficiency.

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