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Former Fujitsu executive leaves Cabinet Office post

Written by The Anand Market

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Fujitsu’s former UK head has resigned from his role at the Cabinet Office, following criticism of the Japanese company for its role in the Post Office Horizon scandal.

Michael Keegan will leave his post as the Crown’s representative in the Cabinet Office. He was appointed to the role of Head of Government Relationship Management with BAE Systems in September 2019.

Keegan, the husband of UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, was in senior roles at Fujitsu when the company’s actions regarding the Post Office convictions were revealed in a series of court hearings.

His departure from the Cabinet Office was published in an update on the department’s website on Friday. The government declined to comment.

Keegan, who left Fujitsu in 2018, served as UK managing director for just over a year between March 2014 and June 2015. He continued to lead the company’s technology in Europe and the Middle East before leaving in July 2018.

More than 900 subpostmasters have been convicted using data from Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon computer system, including 700 prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015.

Keegan left the company before the High Court ruled in December 2019 that the discovery of more than two dozen “bugs, errors and defects” had revealed a “material risk” that Horizon was responsible for faulty data used by the company. Post in their pursuits.

A government insider said Keegan’s decision to leave the Cabinet Office was voluntary and not part of an effort to eliminate any suspected conflicts of interest ahead of ministers’ talks with Fujitsu over the pay settlement. sub-postmasters. Keegan’s role at the Cabinet Office was part-time and cost £500 a day.

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Fujitsu has agreed to contribute to a £1 billion compensation fund set aside by the government to provide redress to more than 4,000 people affected by the scandal. Ministers had threatened the company with “financial sanctions” if it did not pay.

The government will begin negotiations with Fujitsu after the conclusion of a public inquiry. It is expected to conclude its hearings in summer 2024, but has not yet set a date for its final report.

Paul Patterson, Fujitsu’s current managing director for Europe, told MPs this month that the company recognized it had a “role to play” in the compensation and was “truly sorry” for his involvement in the affair.

“We were involved from the beginning, we had bugs and errors in the system and we helped the Post Office sue the subpostmasters,” Patterson said.

The company also agreed to suspend tenders for new public contracts pending the findings of a public inquiry into the matter.

Keegan could not immediately be reached for comment.