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New Neath Port Talbot Council Chief Executive appointed

Karen Jones

Neath Port Talbot Council has appointed a new Chief Executive to take over from Steve Phillips who is retiring from the role.

Karen Jones, the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Digital Officer, was appointed “from a very strong field of candidates”, said Council Leader, Cllr Rob Jones.

He added: “We’re delighted to welcome Karen as our new Chief Executive officer following a rigorous and objective recruitment process.

“It’s a robust appointment and we look forward to working with her in meeting the challenges and capitalising on the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Karen Jones, who has two masters degrees in Business Administration and Human Resources Management, has had a lifelong career in public service including senior roles at Cardiff City Council, South Wales Police and Estyn.

She said: “I have huge support from my wonderful family – my husband Lee and my children Fern and Elliot and their families.

“Although I count myself as a Rhondda girl – the place I grew up – I have lived in Neath Port Talbot for more than 30 years and now can’t imagine living anywhere else.

“This is a beautiful place with a rich history but what makes it special is the warmth and welcome that you get from local residents.

“I very much look forward to taking my career forward as the Council’s next Chief Executive and playing my part in ensuring local people have access to good public services and we create the conditions that cause people to want to work, live and invest here.”

The Council’s next Chief Executive has made her immediate priority one of ensuring the Council continues responding effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic while her longer term goals are:

• Developing the Council’s workforce.
• Strengthening the way the Council works with its communities.
• Strengthening the way the Council works within partnerships.
• Accelerating the Council’s digital agenda.

Mr Phillips took over as Chief Executive of Neath Port Talbot Council in 2009.  He had intended to leave earlier this year but deferred his retirement given the pressures placed on the Council by the coronavirus pandemic.

Council Leader Cllr Jones said: “I want to thank Steve Phillips for his sterling efforts as Chief Executive of this council since 2009.

“During his time here, Mr Phillips has played a vital role as Chief Executive during the very difficult time of austerity in Local Government, he led the inception and delivery of the 21st Century schools improvement programme, had the vision to develop both Neath and Port Talbot town centres and has been pivotal in co-ordinating support for the steel industry given the importance of the Port Talbot steel works to the South West Wales economy.

“He will be missed by staff and councillors alike. We wish him well for his future retirement.”