Try Something New Today – Former Sainsbury’s boss to be Test and Trace Chief Operating Officer

So-called NHS Test and Trace – which in fact is provided by a bunch of global companies including Deloitte, Secro, Sitel, Amazon Web Services and others – has appointed a former supermarket director as its new chief operating officer.

Gareth Williams was previously chief people, innovation and transformation officer at currency exchange firm Travelex and head of human resources at Sainsbury’s supermarket. For the last six months he’s been the Test and Trace Chief People Officer.

Former supermarket staff are prominent at Not-NHS Test and Trace

Test and Trace boss Dido Harding was at Tesco and Sainsbury’s before working as chief executive of Talk Talk – when she presided over data breaches and poor quality, in that case, of broadband. The company lost control of masses of its customers’ personal data.

Test and Trace’s chief customer officer, Ben Stimson, was formerly retail director and then digital director at Waitrose.

Test and Trace’s temporary director of testing Mike Coupe was Sainsbury’s chief executive until mid-2020. Mr Coupe was due to be in post until the end of the year, but the Financial Times reported in mid-December he was to be replaced by former chief executive of aviation firm Swissport UK Jason Holt.

In April Sainsbury’s Test and Trace will be brought under a new public health agency – the National Institute for Health Protection

The new National Institute for Health Protection will replace Public Health England, which the government is abolishing for no very clear reason.

As well as leading the Not-NHS Test and Trace scheme, for the time being Baroness Dido Harding is the National Institute of Health Protection’s interim chief executive.

Her appointment was criticised by Jess Philips MP, who asked:

“What the hell does Dido Harding know about cervical screening, substance misuse, sexual health, contraception, smoking cessation, obesity or even pandemic planning?”

The National Institute for Health Protection will take on Test and Trace’s functions, the work of data and analysis agency the Joint Biosecurity Centre, and the health protection bits of Public Health England as well as various other functions.

Apparently what is good for Sainsbury’s and Waitrose will be good for public health and pandemic planning!

The job specification for the National Institute for Health Protection’s chief executive said candidates would ideally have health or life-science experience but could also be “from a consumer or citizen-facing sectors, where multi-channel face-to-face and digital/e-commerce are both critical channels to market”.

More info here in the Health Service Journal, but paywalled.

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