Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, is looking for a high-flyer in his early 30s who is en route to great things in industry but who would like to strengthen his CV with a two or three-year stint in Whitehall.
"Ideally, we'd like someone on his way up to running the ICIs, or BPs of the future who wants Government experience," said an insider. "We need an injection of business experience and energy into our policy making."
The post, which pays around pounds 120,000 a year and will, in effect, be the number two job at the DTI to the permanent secretary, Sir Michael Scholar, will be advertised shortly.
It is believed that, after initial opposition, Sir Michael has been brought round to support the idea - considered controversial by many mandarins - of bringing in an outsider for the new post of director-general for enterprise and innovation.
The successful candidate, who will have direct access to Mr Byers, will be in charge of what the Secretary of State described as "a powerful new strategic body at the centre of the DTI", which will draw together units working on enterprise, innovation, competitiveness, Europe and the regions.
More importantly, the new director-general will effectively be in charge of policy advice to ministers - mirroring the arrangement at the Treasury, where outsider Ed Balls has been made chief economic adviser to the Chancellor, Gordon Brown.
Mr Balls' appointment in effect sidelined Sir Andrew Turnbull, the permanent secretary at the Treasury, from policy-making to administration and operations. It is widely expected that the DTI's new appointment could have the same effect on Sir Michael's duties.
Mr Byers said the new director-general will focus on "delivery of the next phase of our programme for promoting the knowledge-driven economy in all parts of the UK and in the EU.Reuse content