Cheshire East in search for new CEO after current boss resigns to join Bradford

Dr Lorraine O'Donnell

Cheshire East Council will consider the replacement of its chief executive as an urgent item of business at this morning’s (July 19) meeting at Macclesfield town hall.

Consideration of the item on the agenda will enable the local authority to begin a recruitment process for a replacement.

It follows the resignation of current chief executive, Dr Lorraine O’Donnell, who has announced plans to leave the role on October 15, 2023, to take up a new position as chief executive of Bradford City Council.

Dr O’Donnell was appointed to the chief executive’s role by a full council meeting in February 2020 on a salary of £151,000.

Figures released by the council last April showed her salary was £180,083, but it said this was due to her receiving an extra £33,382, in fees and pension contributions for overseeing the police and crime commissioner elections as well as parish and borough council by-elections held between April 2021 and March 2022.

The council said the final recommended salary of the successful candidate to replace Dr O’Donnell will relate to relevant skills, experience and the labour market.

An executive search agency will be employed to support the recruitment process, which could be concluded in the final quarter of the year.

It is reported Dr O’Donnell’s salary at Bradford will be in the region of £205,000.

Dr O’Donnell has previously worked in a number of local authorities in the North East, including Darlington Council and Durham County Council.

She replaced Kath O’Dwyer at Cheshire East Council in 2020, following her resignation from the role of acting chief exec to take up the chief executive’s job at St Helens Council.

Dr O’Donnell is the fifth Cheshire East CEO in the authority’s 14-year history, although only the third permanent CEO.

Prior to her career in local government, she completed a doctorate in theoretical physics at Oxford University.

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