A senior director to boost the economies of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire has been appointed.
Steve Cox will take on the role of Executive Director for Place & Economy at both Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.
His brief includes leading major infrastructure projects such as the landmark North Westgate development in Peterborough, and redevelopment of the wider city centre area.
The appointment means the majority of the senior management team are now shared by both authorities, led under chief executive Gillian Beasley.
Only the role of chief financial officer is being kept separate as both authorities tackle huge budget deficits following years of government cuts to their funding.
The place and economy position - which will have a salary between £124,504 and £147,154, split equally between both authorities - follows a restructure which is expected to save £90,000 a year, as other officers below senior management level will also be shared across the councils.
The gradual amalgamation of the senior leadership teams in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire has prompted fears Peterborough will lose its autonomy, but city council leader Cllr John Holdich has repeatedly insisted that will not happen.
Mr Cox is currently corporate director for Place at Thurrock Council where he has been responsible for £150 million of government growth funding and for delivering a £500 million capital programme.
The council’s planning team was also recently announced as a finalist at the Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Planning Excellence,
He said: “I am delighted to have been given this tremendous opportunity to work with two ambitious local authorities on an unrivalled agenda for growth. I look forward to working with colleagues in both councils to build a new and dynamic shared service and to work with partners across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to realise the area’s huge potential.”
Mr Cox’s previous roles have included a shared service role as director of growth for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, a range of executive director roles at the East of England Development Agency and roles delivering major new development at Hertfordshire County Council.
A member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, he has a BA (Hons) in town planning an MA in economics and planning.
He is currently chair and director of Thurrock Council’s wholly owned regeneration company and a member of a multi-academy trust in Hertfordshire.
Cllr Holdich said: “To take responsibility for delivering improvements not just for Cambridgeshire – but for Peterborough, a city with huge growth aspiration and a multicultural and diverse economy – which provides considerable challenges as well as great opportunities, we were certainly looking for an exceptional director with a wide and varied background. I am convinced Steve is the right person for the role.”
County council leader Cllr Steve Count said: “We are currently involved in creating the biggest shared services of its type in the country across a county and a city council area – sharing high levels of leadership and management expertise.
“To help us to continue to develop Cambridgeshire, with its international reputation, we were only interested in a really outstanding candidate, and in appointing Steve I believe we have found exactly the right person.”