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City council chief executive to swap Birmingham for New Zealand’s Christchurch CC

The chief executive of Birmingham City Council has announced she will be stepping down from her role to take up a new position the top job at Christchurch City Council in New Zealand.

Dawn Baxendale leaves the council 16 months after joining, and she called the new role in Christchurch a “lifetime opportunity,” adding that it had been a dream of her family to live in New Zealand.

She has over 28 years of experience working in the public sector, and prior to working in Birmingham she spent five years as chief executive at Southampton City Council.

Christchurch’s acting mayor Andrew Turner said Baxendale had a “huge reputation for getting things done,” as she follows in the footsteps of Doncaster Council chief executive Jo Miller.

READ MORE: Doncaster Council and SOLACE boss to depart for ‘once in a lifetime’ New Zealand council job

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward paid tribute to Baxendale’s hard work over the last year, during which the council has prepared for the Commonwealth Games in 2022, launched the Clean Air Zone and seen improvements to children’s services for the first time in 10 years.

Ward commented: “Dawn is moving to New Zealand as the role in Christchurch is a unique work opportunity that she couldn’t pass-up and I'd like to wish her family well as they begin this exciting new chapter.

“When she joined the council 16 months ago, we were entering a new phase in our improvement journey and, thanks in no small part to Dawn's determination and tenacity, we have made significant steps forward.

“I know the team she is leaving behind will continue with that focus and build on the strong improvement foundations that have now been laid.”

He said the council will now start the process of looking for a new chief executive.

Baxendale said she had had a “wonderful time in Birmingham” and that she wanted to thank everyone in the city and region who had made her feel welcome.

The out-going chief executive of Europe’s largest local authority stated: “I will be leaving behind a stronger senior officer team who have a broad depth of experience and knowledge, and I know are committed to continuing the council’s improvement journey.

“In particular I want to thank the partners in the city who have been so encouraging in welcoming me, and the council, back into important conversations to make the city the best it can be for citizens.”

Baxendale added: “I will watch the journey that Birmingham is on from afar and cannot wait to see, with the rest of the world, the amazing Games the city will put on in three years.”


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