Chief Executive, Lesley Seary to step down after 8 years at Islington Council: Lesley Seary

02 Apr 2019

Chief Executive, Lesley Seary to step down after 8 years at Islington Council

After 8 years as Chief Executive at Islington Council, Lesley Seary has today announced that she will be retiring in the coming weeks.

Lesley has worked in local Government for over 30 years. Since 2011, she has led the council through one of the most challenging periods for local Government, steering the organisation to innovate and transform itself in the face of unprecedented Government cuts.

She was one of the driving forces in setting up the Islington Employment Commission - pioneering work that bought public services, private sector employers and local residents to look at the long-term barriers faced in gaining decent and secure employment. This work continues and just last month, Islington celebrated helping 5,500 people into work since 2014.

She has chaired the youth justice board and with local partners, has played a key role in establishing the innovative integrated gangs team.  And through her work with health partners, Islington’s localities project is now taking steps towards a completely new way of working together that will put our residents at the heart of what we do.

When she took up the Chief Executive post at Islington in 2011, she joined only a handful of women to lead a London local authority. She is passionate about supporting more women and people from BAME backgrounds into leadership roles and as part of this, chairs the London-wide Leadership Programme - a major leadership programme designed to support the development of senior staff. She also mentors aspiring leaders, volunteering her time to help individuals take the next step in their careers.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Watts commented: “I have been lucky to have such a strong and experienced Chief Executive in place throughout my time as Leader. Lesley has led the council confidently through one of the most challenging times for local Government as we have tackled huge cuts to funding from the Government.

“From the pioneering Fairness Commission, through to the development of our current ambitious transformation programmes, Lesley has made a huge contribution to the council in her time here.

"As was the case when she was one of the first people on the scene after the Finsbury Park terrorist attack, Lesley is known for her calm and compassionate leadership.

“I have always been grateful for her support and her relentless drive as we work towards a fairer Islington. I am sure everyone will join me in wishing her all the best for the future."

Lesley Seary, Chief Executive commented: "It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a passionate and committed team across Islington and I am really proud of what we have achieved.  

"The council is at a pivotal stage, with ambitious plans for the future and while I am really excited about what the future holds for Islington, part of being a leader is knowing when to step aside and for me that time is now. As Islington embarks on the next stage of its journey, I believe it will benefit from fresh leadership from someone who can commit totally to at least five years to lead and deliver on those plans.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who works to serve the residents in Islington - working together, we have a brilliant team in Islington and I know they will continue to work hard to make Islington a fairer place."

The process of recruiting Islington's Chief Executive will begin shortly.

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