Council Chief resigns

lorraine-o'donnell Pantling studio

The Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council, Dr Lorraine O'Donnell, has submitted her resignation and is due to leave on 15 October 2023, to take up a new role as Chief Executive of Bradford City Council.

Following a recruitment process commencing in late 2019 the Council approved the appointment of Dr Lorraine O'Donnell to the post of Chief Executive at the Full Council meeting of 20 February 2020. She was appointed on a salary of £151,000.

An urgent Item of business has been added to the agenda for tomorrow's (Wednesday, 19th July) council meeting to discuss arrangements to recruit a new Chief Executive, who will also hold the position of Returning Head of Paid Service.

The report states "Initial discussions with executive recruitment consultants support a review of the current remuneration package of £159,405 (per the Pay Policy Statement 2023/24). The final recommended salary of the successful candidate will relate to relevant skills, experience and the labour market."

Updated: July 19th - Following a decision at the full council meeting on 19 July, the Cheshire East's appointments committee will undertake the recruitment and selection process for a new chief executive and also consider interim arrangements.

Dr O'Donnell said: "This has been an extremely difficult decision as my time at Cheshire East has been the most enjoyable period in my career and I am very proud of what we, as an organisation, have achieved over the last three years.

"I have seen real, positive change in the organisation, and we have overcome significant challenges – not least supporting the borough through an international pandemic, a cost-of-living-crisis and the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

"We can also be proud of many achievements. We have successfully moved to the committee system of governance, agreed a four-year balanced budget (for two consecutive years, despite the national funding challenges), opened major new roads (Congleton link road and Poynton relief road), made significant progress towards our carbon neutral plan and introduced a new customer strategy and charter, to name just a few.

"Cheshire East Council is a fantastic place to work and I have really enjoyed working with councillors, officers and partners and will miss the people, the borough and the council enormously. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made me feel so welcome from the start and whose professionalism and dedication has made working here such a pleasure."

Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of the council, said: "I would like to thank Lorraine for her work in Cheshire East and wish her well in her new role. Lorraine's contribution to developing the organisation we are today has been significant and invaluable.

"This has been a time of change for Cheshire East Council and Lorraine has been a driving force, supporting and delivering our vision for the borough. The work now begins to find a new chief executive to lead us in the next stage of our journey, seizing new opportunities and meeting new challenges."

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of the council, said: "Lorraine joined Cheshire East Council just as the first Covid lockdown began. In her three years as chief executive, Lorraine has supported the organisation through the duration of the pandemic. This has included leading significant changes to working practices for our officers and councillors alike.

"Lorraine can be proud of many achievements, not least supporting the move to the committee system – a significantly different form of governance and decision-making for the council. The organisation is now in a strong position. I thank her and wish her luck for the future."

Photo: Dr Lorraine O'Donnell.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Tony Haluradivth
Sunday 23rd July 2023 at 11:18 pm
There goes that good old "revolving door" again ;)
Marc Asquith
Tuesday 25th July 2023 at 9:19 am
Well she starts with Bradford on £205,000 pa. She was on £180.083 with CEC. So that might be one reason.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 26th July 2023 at 1:40 pm
She should not be earning more than the PM.
That the newly resigned head of Nat West was on 5 million PA in a bank 40% owned by us and bailed out by us makes my blood boil. She deserved to go as she refused to come before a Parliamentary all party committee to discuss why she was not raising interest savings . Other Bank leaders attended but not her. Too much greed and hubris.