Durham County Council set to appoint new Chief Executive

Durham County Council is set to appoint John Hewitt as their new Chief Executive after the authority’s Chief Officer Appointments Committee advised that he is their recommended candidate following an appointment process.

Mr Hewitt, who joined the council in 2016, has been Durham’s interim Chief Executive since December and has overseen their financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a wide range of other major projects and initiatives.

Commenting, he said:

"County Durham is a fantastic place and I am incredibly proud to call it home, so it is a real honour to have been recommended as Chief Executive of the county council.

"The past eight months have given me a good indication of what lies ahead and I am confident that, with the support and commitment of our team who work across all our services, there is much to look forward to.

"Our response to the pandemic has demonstrated that we are well placed to meet any challenge and, indeed, our recovery from the impact of coronavirus will continue to be our main priority for some time to come.

"We will also continue to make our case for additional investment and support from government through the levelling up agenda and, over the next few weeks, will be working hard to demonstrate why our county would be a deserving recipient of the title of UK City of Culture for 2025.

"We have a very busy time ahead of us, but if appointed I would give my all to leading the team here at Durham County Council in working to achieve the very best for our residents and all those who choose to work, visit and invest here."

Mr Hewitt, who is originally from Spennymoor in the county, started his career as a YTS trainee at the former Sedgefield Borough Council.

He has also held financial roles at Durham Constabulary and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, where he became the Deputy Chief Executive, before moving to South Tyneside Council, where he was Corporate Director for Business and Resources.

Mr Hewitt's appointment is subject to formal confirmation at a meeting of Durham County Council’s full council meeting on Wednesday 22 September.

Commenting, Leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Amanda Hopgood said:

"I would like to congratulate John on being recommended as Chief Executive. He is an outstanding candidate and has done an excellent job, both in carrying out the role on an interim basis and serving as Corporate Director of Resources.

He has played a significant leading role in our response to the pandemic, as well as leading a number of other major projects and initiatives since he came to the authority.

"He has a wealth of expertise and experience and I'm confident he is the best person to help us achieve our many ambitions for the county.

"To enable us to deliver the best possible services to our communities and improve people's lives by investing in the places they live, creating more and better jobs and helping them to live long and independent lives.

"I look forward to working with him, subject to full council approval, and wish him every success for the future."

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