Chief with ‘financial expertise’ to take over as council boss in new year

PUBLISHED: 12:24 28 October 2018

Jo Walker will take over as North Somerset Council's new chief executive. Picture: Clint Randall (

Jo Walker will take over as North Somerset Council's new chief executive. Picture: Clint Randall (

Clint Randall - pixel pr phototography

A new chief executive to run North Somerset Council has been appointed.

Jo Walker has worked for South Gloucestershire County Council for 30 years but will move southwards to take over in North Somerset in January.

She will replace Helen Bailey who has been working as an interim on a six-month placement following the departure of Mike Jackson to Bristol City Council earlier this year.

Ms Walker, aged 50, is excited to get started.

She said: “I am really looking forward to joining North Somerset Council and helping the organisation to deliver its ambitious plans for the area.

“I am looking forward to getting to know the people and the place much better over the coming weeks and can’t wait to get started.”

Ms Walker has been strategic director of finance and support services at South Gloucestershire, but also has previously been in charge of highways and waste.

Council leader Nigel Ashton believes she will be an asset.

He said: “We had a strong selection of candidates to choose from, but Jo particularly impressed us with her experience and her approach.

“Her financial expertise will be of huge benefit as we continue to work hard to deliver much-valued services to our residents.”

Ms Walker’s appointment was confirmed last week by senior councillors after she appeared before an employment committee.

Cllr David Pasley, who chaired that meeting, said: “The committee had the opportunity to meet a number of strong candidates during the recruitment process and I am pleased to report that Jo’s appointment received unanimous cross-party support.”

Ms Walker’s future salary has not been disclosed but it is expected to be approximately £150,000.

Ms Bailey has been paid an estimated £100,000 for her six-month stint – approximately £800 per day.

There were calls from some members of the public for the chief executive role to be scrapped to save money.

The council spent £27,000 to get help with recruiting a chief executive and the soon-to-be vacant head of finance position.

The latter’s incumbent Malcolm Coe is leaving in the coming weeks to join the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

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