HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced the appointment of Mark Dearnley, currently Vodafone UK’s CIO, as its new Chief Digital and Information Officer.

The news follows reports that Mark Hall, the department’s acting CIO, was snubbed for the job despite a recommendation from his respected predecessor Phil Pavitt.

It is thought that the Government Digital Service and key technology leaders in the Cabinet Office wanted a candidate with experience in digital technologies.

Dearnley will join HMRC in October on a salary of £180,000. He will be responsible for HMRC’s £500 million-a-year IT operation and be charged with implementing the department’s £200 million digitisation programme.

HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said: “Mark is an exceptionally experienced CIO, with strong leadership and change management skills as well as an accomplished technical background across a spectrum of IT disciplines.

“HMRC has already embarked on an ambitious programme of digitisation to provide taxpayers with modern online services and Mark is the right person to deliver that for the UK.”

Whitehall has been tasked with overhauling many of its legacy systems into agile, digital products that allow taxpayers to easily interact with government online. It is hoped that this will save the public sector £1.7 billion a year after 2015.

Dearnley has been CIO at Vodafone UK since 2010, where he led a programme to overhaul the company’s business-critical information systems. He was also named Oracle Global Business Unit CIO of the Year in 2012.

HMRC also noted that Dearnley was responsible for restructuring Vodafone’s IT operation model, where he introduced cloud-based technologies.

Prior to Vodafone, he also spent six years at Cable & Wireless as CIO and in other senior IT roles.

Dearnley said: “I have spent my entire career in the private sector, mostly in customer-facing businesses. But no private business in the UK can match the customer base, scale or complexity of HMRC, which makes this role irresistible. I am thrilled to have been appointed and can’t wait to get started.”