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Deborah Cadman to leave Suffolk County Council for new chief executive role in West Midlands

PUBLISHED: 14:03 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:14 27 June 2017

Deborah Cadman

Deborah Cadman


Deborah Cadman OBE is leaving her job as chief executive of Suffolk County Council - and could be getting a £10,000 pay rise.

Mrs Cadman has taken up a new post as the first permanent chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and is set to play a key role in turning the region’s devolution deal with central government into reality.

Her current salary is £170,000 a year, and a spokesman for WMCA said she would be paid between £160,000 and £180,000 per annum in her fresh position.

Joining Suffolk County Council (SCC) in 2011, Mrs Cadman has overseen an improvement in education attainment levels in the county and enabled the authority to find savings of more than £200 million, made necessary due to reductions in funding from government.

Mrs Cadman, who was raised in Birmingham, said she was “delighted” to have been offered the new post, which will see her working with Andy Street who was elected as the first West Midlands mayor in May this year.

She added: “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 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 SCC, but the team is in good shape and ready for that challenge.”

Mrs Cadman has held several senior posts in her career, including chief executive of the East of England Development Agency and chief executive at St Edmundsbury Borough Council as well as interim chief executive of Waveney, Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils.

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

Mark Bee, Beccles councillor and former leader of SCC, appointed Mrs Cadman as chief executive of the authority.

He said: “I think Suffolk has been served so well by a first rate chief executive, held with great esteem locally and someone who has a fantastic national profile as well.”

Mr Bee said he had “no idea” who would take her place, adding that it was “still early days”.

“It will be someone with a different style to Deborah and I for one will miss that style here in Suffolk but I wish her every success in her new role,” he said.

Current leader of SCC, Colin Noble, said: “Deborah has been a real asset for Suffolk, and whilst I recognise this is an exciting new opportunity, like many other 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 £200 million 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.”

An exact date for Mrs Cadman leaving SCC is still to be decided, but it is expected to be in around three months’ time.

A recruitment process will begin immediately, with the aim of having a permanent new chief executive in place as soon as possible, a SCC spokesman said.

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