Philip Hammond, who until earlier on Wednesday was Britain’s Foreign Secretary, has succeeded George Osborne as Chancellor in the government being formed by new Prime Minister Theresa May to take Britain out of the European Union.
Osborne – Chancellor since 2010 and a close ally of David Cameron who formally stepped down as prime minister earlier in the day – will leave the government.
Hammond, 60, served as transport secretary when the Conservatives took power in coalition with the centrist Liberal Democrats in 2010, moving to take charge of defence in 2011.
His tenure as Foreign Secretary since 2014 has been dominated by the Ukraine crisis, Syria’s civil war and negotiations that led last year to a six-power agreement with Iran to scale back its nuclear programme.
As Chancellor, Hammond will have to manage an economy that appears to be slowing sharply after last month’s vote to leave the EU, and set new budget goals after Osborne abandoned his aim to run a budget surplus by 2020.
Hammond, who campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU, once acknowledged that broadcasters referred to him ironically as “Box Office Phil” because he rarely made headlines.
He built up his economic credentials while the Conservatives were in opposition before 2010, serving as trade and industry spokesman and shadow treasury minister.