Hampshire CC’s deputy chief executive is being recommended for the top job.
John Coughlan, who is also Hampshire’s director of children’s services, has been chosen as the preferred candidate to take over from current chief executive Andrew Smith who announced in May his intention to retire after eight years in the post.
Councillors will make a final decision on the proposed appointment on 22 October.
In a statement Hampshire’s leader Roy Perry (Con) said: “John Coughlan’s experience, knowledge of the county council and abilities shone through during the appointment process. We believe we have found an inspirational and visionary leader who will lead the authority as it continues this journey of transformation and modernisation.”
Prior to becoming Hampshire’s deputy chief executive in 2009, and director of children’s services since 2005, Mr Coughlan was corporate director of social care at Telford & Wrekin Council. Before that he was assistant director for children and families at Dudley MBC, while he spent the first 10 years of his career working directly with children in care in Birmingham.
In 2008, the government appointed Mr Coughlan was appointed interim director of children’s services at Haringey LBC in order to bring stability to the authority following the case of ‘Baby P’.
Then in 2013, Mr Coughlan was called upon once again by the government to become the permanent director of children’s services for Isle of Wight Council. The two councils have formed a partnership which has seen Hampshire take responsibility for schools and children’s services on the Isle of Wight to help improve what were failing services, a statement said.
Mr Coughlan was awarded a CBE in the 2009 New Year honours list, in recognition of his work for children’s services.
He was the last president of the Association of Directors of Social Services in 2006, before he became a founding joint president of the Association of Director’s of Children’s Services (ADCS) in 2007. He remains on ADCS’ board.