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Deborah Cadman secures coveted top West Midlands officer role

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Deborah Cadman has been announced as the new chief executive of West Midlands CA.

The Suffolk CC chief executive, who has been in her current post since 2011, will replace Coventry City Council’s Martin Reeves who has held the role on an interim basis. It is expected she will make the move in three months’ time.

Deborah Cadman

Deborah Cadman

Deborah Cadman

Ms Cadman said: “I am delighted to have been offered the post of chief executive at the WMCA. This is such a fabulous moment in time for the West Midlands and is an irresistible opportunity to work alongside our newly elected mayor and bring greater prosperity to the place where I grew up.

“I will be taking the reins over from Martin Reeves, who has been amazing as interim chief executive whilst maintaining the same post at Coventry City Council. Martin is an incredibly hard act to follow and I am indebted to him for all his visionary work to date.”

She said of her former county: “I will find it incredibly hard to say goodbye to Suffolk though. It’s a wonderful place, with fantastic people. The politicians, staff and partners I have worked with in the last six years have shown me the extraordinary level of talent and commitment we have right here in the county.

“Naturally, there is still more hard work ahead for Suffolk CC, but the team is in good shape and ready for that challenge.”

Ms Cadman, who was born in Birmingham, has previously served as chief executive of the East of England Development Agency and St Edmundsbury BC, as well as interim chief executive of Waveney, Mid Suffolk and Babergh DCs.

Ms Cadman earned a degree in social administration and politics and a masters degrees in urban and regional economics and management from the University of Birmingham. She was awarded an OBE for services to local government in 2006.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street (Con) said: ”After a robust recruitment process I am thrilled that Deborah has agreed to join the WMCA as our chief executive. I was keen that we considered only the very best candidates for this important post and Deborah was the strongest candidate in an excellent field.

“She will bring a great energy to the role as well as a natural enthusiasm for the region.  She also has a strong track record in developing and maintaining relationships with a range of partners and stakeholders.  This will be essential as we keep momentum going with central government to bring further powers and responsibilities from Westminster to the West Midlands.”

Colin Noble (Con), Suffolk CC’s leader, said: ”“Deborah has been a real asset for Suffolk, and whilst I recognise this is an exciting new opportunity, like many others I will be incredibly sad to see her leave.

“The impact Deborah has made can not be underestimated. Educational attainment levels in Suffolk are now significantly higher, with 86% of schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. Over £200m of essential budget savings have been delivered and staff morale is much higher than when Deborah joined us in 2011.

“This is all testament to Deborah’s hard working nature, ability to build partnerships with people and solid leadership skills. We wish her the very best in her new role, of which we’re confident she’ll make a huge success.”

Ms Cadman’s appointment was welcomed by two key figures from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers. President Jo Miller said Ms Cadman ”will be fabulous” and would ”help drive #goodgrowth”. The society’s director Graeme Mcdonald tweeting that it was an “appointment straight from the very top drawer of #localgov”.

Deborah Cadman

Ms Cadman started her career with Newham LBC in 1984 before moving to Birmingham City Council’s regeneration team, three years later, and gaining a master’s degree in economics.

She became head of policy at Redcar & Cleveland BC in 1996, securing a second master’s degree, this time in management. She then took up a two-year secondment as a ministerial advisor with the Department of the Environment, Transport & Regions.

Ms Cadman was appointed Audit Commission Best Value service lead inspector for London in 2003, before moving to the chief’s role at St Edmundsbury BC, and then on to her Suffolk role in 2011.

She is a trustee of both the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Joseph Rowntree Housing Foundation, and was awarded an OBE for services to local government in 2006.


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