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Birmingham City Council chief executive Stephen Hughes retires in management shake-up

Head of paid service to stand down after eight years in the role.

Stephen Hughes will retire as Birmingham City Council chief executive in February 2014

Birmingham City Council's £205,000-a-year chief executive Stephen Hughes is to retire after eight years in the role – prompting a shake-up of senior management.

Stephen Hughes will retire from the council at the end of next February after he turns 60.

His job will be combined with the head of a new economy directorate role, and Mr Hughes promised to stay longer if the authority needed more time to find his successor.

Two £145,000-a-year strategic director jobs will go, along with several support roles.

And the council’s five departments – homes and neighbourhoods, adults and communities, development and culture, corporate resources and children, young people and families – will be reduced to three, with working titles of people, place and economy.

The people directorate will combine the old adult care services and children’s services under strategic director Peter Hay.

Peter Duxbury, who held the strategic director’s role for children’s services, left the organisation by mutual consent in June.

Three more strategic directors – Sharon Lea at local services, Mark Barrow at development and culture and Paul Dransfield at resources – can apply for the chief executive/economy director role or go for the remaining director roles of director of place or deputy to chief executive.

The changes will shave £500,000-a-year from the wage bill.

Council leader Sir Albert Bore said Mr Hughes’ retirement, combined with a crisis in children’s services and the austerity measures gripping the authority, had prompted a major rethink of senior management numbers.

He said staffing throughout the organisation had been cut by a third, from 21,000 to 14,000, so it was felt that reduction should be reflected at the top of the council.

Mr Hughes, whose pay package totalled £233,000 with bonuses and pension last year, said: “I have been planning my retirement for a little while, driven primarily by personal circumstances.

“I have had a fantastic time working for the city and will continue to work through until my final budget is finished.”

Asked what he was most proud of during his tenure, Mr Hughes said the business transformation process, which had seen the council undergo a major restructure, was “cutting edge in town hall circles”.

He said he was also pleased with the business support service Finance Birmingham, which had helped create 1,400 jobs for local firms.

Mr Hughes added that the runway extension at Birmingham Airport “ought to be named the Stephen Hughes runway” because “it wouldn’t have happened without me”.

 
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