Chief executive announces decision to step down

Uttlesford District Council's Chief Executive, Dawn French, has announced she is to step down after five years in the role.

Miss French, who has been in post since February 2016, said she will be leaving the council at the end of August, adding that the announcement has been made now to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

"The timing of this decision is something I have been deliberating for some time, in order that the needs of the council are balanced with my own personal aspirations," she said.

"I have been in local government for 38 years, joining Brentwood Council straight from A-Levels, and have always had a desire to allow myself some more time to be able to do something different. The pandemic has meant those plans have altered somewhat, but now that the elections have been concluded and we start to find ways of living with the virus, now would seem a good time for both the council and for me to embrace some changes."

Miss French, who has also worked for Chelmsford, Colchester and Basildon councils, added: "I feel incredibly privileged to have worked with such a great team at Uttlesford, and would like to thank everyone for their support, dedication and hard work through some challenging times."

Cllr John Lodge, Leader of Uttlesford District Council, said: "We'd like to thank Dawn for her hard work as Chief Executive. Her experience and collegiate approach has made her well respected, liked and successful at UDC.

"She's shown herself to be adaptable to change and worked tirelessly to help deliver the council's new resident-centred strategic and operational plans. I personally found her an invaluable guide and helpful to all councillors as the council navigated the seismic shift to an almost completely different council following the elections of 2019.

"We wish her well for the future and thank her for her continued support during the transition period to a new Chief Executive." 

Cllr Petrina Lees, Deputy Leader of the council, added: "Dawn has been at the centre of us reshaping the council for its next chapter. The finances are in robust shape, the new Local Plan is on track, and the council has strengthened governance.

"I'd like to particularly thank Dawn for the calm and unflustered work in steering the district through the pandemic over the last year. I join John, other councillors and staff in wishing her well." 

11 May 2021

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