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New boss announced for Suffolk Libraries to start in January

PUBLISHED: 10:51 14 November 2017

Alison Wheeler, who plans to retire from her role as chief executive of Suffolk Libraries in 2018. Alison in Ipswich Library. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Alison Wheeler, who plans to retire from her role as chief executive of Suffolk Libraries in 2018. Alison in Ipswich Library. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A former boss of St John Ambulance has been appointed as the new chief executive for Suffolk Libraries starting in the new year.

Bruce Leeke, who has been confirmed as the new chief executive for Suffolk Libraries. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIESBruce Leeke, who has been confirmed as the new chief executive for Suffolk Libraries. Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES

In July, current libraries boss Alison Wheeler announced that she would be retiring after 38 years working within the library service.

Suffolk Libraries has been recruiting for a replacement, with Bruce Leeke yesterday having been announced as the new boss.

“I am delighted to be joining Suffolk Libraries at such an exciting time,” he said.

“The exceptional work of Alison Wheeler, the staff team, community groups and board has led to the delivery of an outstanding library service across Suffolk over the past five years, at a very challenging time.

“I look forward to maintaining the high-quality service already in place and developing exciting new ways of engaging with existing and new customers.

“I am particularly keen to look at any innovative opportunities or partnerships that can add value to people’s experience and ultimately further increase the profile and impact of the county’s library service.”

Mr Leeke has worked in commercial conferences for large publishers, before moving into the charity sector with various chief executive roles at the Institute for Fundraising.

For the last five years Mr Leeke has been regional director for St John Ambulance, with responsibility for overseeing the organisation’s activities in the East of England.

Mrs Wheeler has been chief executive of the library service in Suffolk since 2012 when it was transferred from Suffolk County Council, and qualified as a librarian in 1979.

She said she will be devoting more time to being a family carer, but will remain a trustee of the national library, information organisation CILIP and Eastern Angles.

She added: “It’s been an honour to serve Suffolk’s library customers for nearly 40 years and I am confident there is a bright future ahead for Suffolk Libraries under Bruce’s leadership.”

Mr Leeke will begin his new role in January.

Tony Brown, chairman of the Suffolk Libraries board paid tribute to Mrs Wheeler’s work, and added that in Mr Leeke the service had found someone with the “vision, experience and drive” to lead the library service.

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