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Durham County Council set to appoint new chief executive

Aug 3, 2021 | Local News

A new Chief Executive looks set to lead the north east’s largest council.

The Chief Officer Appointments Committee at Durham County Council has advised that John Hewitt is their recommended candidate for Chief Executive following an appointment process.

John has been interim Chief Executive since December. He joined the authority in 2016 and has overseen the council’s financial response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as a wide range of other major projects and initiatives.

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, from Spennymoor, 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, where he was corporate director for business and resources.

Mr Hewitt’s appointment is subject to formal confirmation at a meeting of the authority’s full council on Wednesday, 22 September.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, 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.”