Denis McMahon

Permanent Secretary, Department for Infrastructure

Denis McMahon

Dr Denis McMahon joined the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) on 4 September 2023.

Denis completed a PhD in Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast in 1992 before entering the Civil Service as a statistician. He completed a Fulbright Fellowship in 2000, was Principal Private Secretary for the First Minister in 2007 and completed the Major Projects Leadership Academy qualification in 2019 with Oxford University and the Major Projects Authority.

Denis has led a series of major organisations and programmes including: multi-billion programmes in capital investment for the Department of Health and Department of Education; the reform of benefits and the anti-poverty strategy in the Department for Communities, leading 7,000 staff; the last Permanent Secretary in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure; and Permanent Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, re-focusing a Department of 3,000 people on sustainability, while leading through the global pandemic and EU Exit and achieving a
record 14 point increase in staff engagement over three years.

Prior to joining DfI, Denis was the Permanent Secretary in The Executive Office. He is also the Head of the Policy Profession for the NICS.