Cheshire East Council set to appoint new chief executive

Cheshire East Council is set to appoint Rob Polkinghorne as its new permanent chief executive.

The council's appointments committee is due to recommend Mr Polkinghorne as the preferred candidate in a report to full council. The decision to appoint a new chief executive will be taken at the meeting of full council on 13 December.

Mr Polkinghorne began his career in local government in 1996 and has worked in unitary, county, borough and district councils, covering both urban and rural areas.

Beyond local government, he assumed leadership roles in the fire and rescue service and the NHS before securing the post of chief operating officer at Aberdeen City Council and then becoming chief executive at Southend City Council in October 2022 before stepping down after just eight months in the role.

Councillor Fiona Wilson, chair of the appointments committee, said: "I would like to thank my fellow committee members, the members of the stakeholder panels and all the candidates for their positive engagement with the recruitment and selection process.

"The recommendation of a preferred candidate for the role of chief executive is one of the most important functions of the appointments committee – and identifying the best candidate for Cheshire East was not a decision taken lightly.

"I would like to congratulate Mr Polkinghorne on being named as preferred candidate."

The former Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council, Dr Lorraine O'Donnell, left in October 2023 to take up a new role as Chief Executive of Bradford City Council.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Nick Jones
Thursday 30th November 2023 at 6:25 pm
CEC £18M in the hole .. Conveniently omitted is the salary package proposed .. This is residents/ taxpayers money after all.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 30th November 2023 at 8:23 pm
It appears that he left his previous £185000 p.a. job after only eight months in post:
Nick Jones
Friday 1st December 2023 at 2:56 pm
The basic salary of an MP is £86K, Leader of the opposition £126k, The PM £165k , Mayor of London £153K , Mayor of Manchester £110K ... CEC is public service ... The average salary for Chief Executive Officer is £132 K, Lorraine O Donnell's basic was £150k... How much is this costing taxpayers ? It appears conveniently omitted ??
Ryan Dance
Saturday 2nd December 2023 at 9:06 am
What’s the obsession with salary? Surely it’s about getting the best candidate to run a very large bureaucratic complex authority.

The salary obsession and usual barrage of abuse and comparisons. Makes zero sense.

Just get the best candidate. Reform it, rid of waste and pen pushing computer says no types and give us better local services whilst reducing our local taxes. Thanks
Jon Williams
Sunday 3rd December 2023 at 10:34 am
Could be something to do with the fact it's OUR money Ryan !
Fred Rayers
Sunday 3rd December 2023 at 11:08 am
Even more of a concern is the decision to appoint anyone with a track record of not spending long enough with a council to be mentally invested in its long term future rather than their own.
Alan Brough
Sunday 3rd December 2023 at 6:09 pm
@ Ryan,

I’d surmise that the obsession with salary will be based on the fact that recent Cheshire East CE’s have failed (miserably) to do all of the common sense things you describe in your last paragraph despite having lined their pockets with oodles of our hard-earned cash.
Pete Taylor
Monday 4th December 2023 at 7:59 pm
@ Ryan Dance, perhaps the "obsession with salary" you refer to is because of the serial failings of highly paid CEC executives almost since day one.

Perhaps this is why "the usual barrage of abuse and comparisons" (where was the barrage of abuse, incidentally?) are valid questions, even with the, generally excellent, new management in control it is always good practice to take note of historic failings in order to avoid making the same mistakes.
Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 6th December 2023 at 4:59 pm
Something odd about his work history, why did he step down public have a right to know.
Nick Jones
Tuesday 12th December 2023 at 11:38 am
I hope the correct due diligence has been conducted by CEC recruitment as it prepares to blow ‘white smoke’ tomorrow 13/12/23 for Mr Pocklinghorne’s official anointment as the 8th COO in 11 years. The findings from his brief foray at Southend remains subject of investigation and are not yet on public record. He was previously at Aberdeen Council, West Hampshire CCG & North Yorkshire. Lorraine O Donnell went from Durham to Derwent & Cheshire before Bradford clearly demonstrating the transient nature of the role, when we need stability and the right person.

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