Edinburgh Council Chief Executive to retire

Wednesday January 10th 2024


Chief Executive of Edinburgh City Council, Andrew Kerr.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

The chief executive of Edinburgh City Council has announced he will step back from his role later this year.

Andrew Kerr confirmed he will retire in June in an email sent to councillors today. He said his decision came as he turns 65 in March, having given “my working life to public service in one form or another” including nearly 20 years as chief executive of several councils across the UK.

Before joining Edinburgh in 2015 he had the top job at North Tyneside Council, Wiltshire Council, Cornwall Council and was also briefly the Chief Operating Officer for Cardiff City Council from 2012 to 2013.

In 2021, Kerr was awarded the OBE for services to the public sector in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

The Falkirk-born former international sprinter, who won a bronze medal at the 1977 European Athletics Junior Championships, said he wanted to “decided to devote more time to my family and my other interests including some of that time to the charities I am involved in”.

His email continued: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and for the support of the council whilst I have been working in Edinburgh (nine years by the time I leave).

“It has been a privilege to work for this amazing city and I am lucky to have worked beside some amazing colleagues and dedicated members in pursuit of service to the people of Edinburgh.

“I give you my assurance that I will continue to give 100% of my time, effort and experience on behalf this council till my retirement date.”

Kerr’s last day working for the city council will be Friday, June 14th. The recruitment process to appoint the next Chief Executive will begin immediately.

In a stement Mr Kerr said: “From my first job as an Area Leisure Officer for Falkirk District Council in 1982, I have been hugely proud to dedicate my entire working life to local government and public service.

“I always said I wanted to finish my career here and it’s been an absolute privilege to work for this fantastic city, particularly during such a challenging and exciting time. I feel fortunate to have worked alongside such amazing colleagues providing vital services for the people of Edinburgh.

“Of course, there is still much to do and I will continue to focus on that until I hand over to my successor.”

Council leader Cammy Day said: “I’ve enjoyed working with Andrew, both when I was Deputy Leader and now as Leader, and I want to thank him for his hard work over the past nine years in particular – but also for his 42 years’ worth of commitment to public service.

“Of particular note was his leadership throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, a hugely challenging time for the Council and the city, and his role in ensuring Edinburgh paid a fitting tribute to The Queen following her death in 2022. He also played a key part in securing the £1.3bn City Region Deal for Edinburgh in 2018 and leaves us with an ambitious City Vision for 2050.

“I also want to highlight Andrew’s important work with Suzanne Tanner KC and her Inquiry team. Though difficult, and at times extremely distressing, it allowed the Council to deal with complex historical issues while, at the same time, changing our corporate culture for the better.

“Our attention now turns to finding a high calibre successor, someone capable of facing the undoubted challenges in the years ahead.”

Adam Nols-McVey, leader of the council’s SNP group, said: “I’d like to thank Andrew for his service. We worked closely together for 5 years while I was Council Leader.

“During that time the city set out a bold vision and took strides to achieving it. The current political leadership have certainly scaled back on those aspirations but I hope a new Chief Executive will be able to help accelerate the change we badly need.”

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