County council fills two top posts to replace chief executive position

Kieran Stigant, pictured early in 2013
Kieran Stigant, pictured early in 2013

Two new posts created by the departure of West Sussex County Council’s chief executive have been filled this week.

It was announced that Kieran Stigant, who worked for the authority for more than 20 years and became chief executive in 2010, was standing down earlier this month after his post had been made ‘redundant’.

A cross-party panel led by WSCC leader Louise Goldsmith carried out interviews on Monday for a new interim chief operating officer and interim transformation director.

Next month’s full council will be asked to ratify the internal appointment of Diane Ashby as interim chief operating officer, and the external appointment of Gill Steward to that of interim transformation director.

Mrs Goldsmith said: “I am delighted to be recommending to full council the appointment of both Gill and Diane to these new posts.

“I am confident that this new structure and these two people will move this organisation forward and deliver our vision for how we want and need West Sussex County Council to now operate in the future.

“I look forward to working with them both to help councillors and our staff continue to make a real difference to our residents and meet, and overcome, the challenges that we will face in the future.”

Diane is currently director for services operations at WSCC and joined the authority in 2006.

Her portfolio of responsibilities includes highways and transport, waste management, information services, business improvement, support services and facilities management.

Before joining the council Diane worked for firms such as The Body Shop and Marks and Spencer.

She said: “I am delighted to have been offered this position and look forward to the part that I will play leading West Sussex County Council through the challenges that lie ahead.”

While Mrs Goldsmith said that ‘nobody has been sacked’, the decision to remove the post of chief executive prompted criticism from the leaders of the opposition parties, with one questioning if Mr Stigant ‘jumped or had been pushed’.