SFO appoints interim director ahead of arrival of full-time successor to David Green QC

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has appointed chief operating officer Mark Thompson as interim director, ahead of the arrival of the full-time successor to departing director David Green QC.

Thompson will step into the post on 21 April and will hold the role until Green’s replacement is available to take up the position full-time.

In a statement, Thompson said that while a new director has been appointed, “the individual cannot take up the post immediately”.

He added: “In the meantime it is 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.”

Prior to joining the SFO in 2004, Thompson was a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Service, before qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1997 and working for the National Audit Office and KPMG Forensic. Between 2012 and 2016, he headed the SFO’s proceeds of crime division, before becoming COO in May 2015.

Green steps down as director of the crime agency this month after six years in the role. During his tenure, he oversaw an investigation into Rolls-Royce that saw the company reach a £497.25m deferred prosecution agreement last January – a fine that remains the largest ever settlement with a company in the UK for criminal conduct.

Previously, partners with links to the SFO had suggested that the Attorney General’s office would look to an internal candidate as a successor to Green, with current SFO GC Alun Milford and joint head of bribery Matthew Wagstaff both touted as likely candidates. However, the interim arrangement suggests the new director will be an external appointment.

The replacement for Green – who has been tipped for a move to a US law firm’s London office – will take over the regulator during its ongoing fraud, bribery and corruption investigation into aerospace multinational Airbus.