Sandwell Council appoints from within as new chief executive confirmed
A new chief executive has been appointed at Sandwell Council.
David Stevens will take the top role on a permanent basis having served as interim chief executive for the past five months.
It comes after former boss Jan Britton quit the £140,000-a-year role in July in mysterious circumstances.
The council initially wanted someone from outside the authority to take the role but said it decided to recruit to the post "through a competitive internal process in line with the council’s policy".
Infighting has overshadowed local politics in Sandwell in recent years and former West Bromwich MP Tom Watson has called for council leader Yvonne Davies to resign.
Councillor Davies said having a permanent chief executive was key to the council’s stability.
She said: “David was in the interim chief executive post for five months, doing an excellent job and providing real stability for the council.
“It is essential that David continues the work he has started to put the council on a stable footing and address some of the challenging historical issues that the council has been dealing with. We feel David is the best person to do this job.
“David’s appointment was made unanimously by the panel subject to it being ratified at full council.
“I welcome David’s appointment and I look forward to continuing working with him, driving forward our priorities and making Sandwell a better place for everyone.”
Councillor Davies added: “A lengthy recruitment process would have taken up valuable time and resources and would be an unnecessary distraction for the council.
“Therefore, we decided to advertise the position internally, opening it up to senior officers and we went through the proper process with a full member panel holding interviews.”
Mr Stevens, who was previously executive director for adult social care health and wellbeing. said: “I’m absolutely delighted to accept the post of chief executive.
“I’m extremely proud to work for Sandwell Council and look forward to working closely with the leader, the cabinet and all staff in delivering our big plans for Sandwell and its residents.”
No official reason was given for Mr Britton's departure, although sources close to the council said influence of officers over political matters had been called into question.