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NLC Chief Executive Retires


North Lanarkshire Council Chief Executive Gavin Whitefield CBE announced he is to retire after 15 years running the country's fourth biggest authority later this year.

Mr Whitefield, 59, who is one of Scotland's longest-serving chief executives, took over as the council's most senior officer in 2000.

His autumn departure from such a high-profile post, which comes with a basic salary of around £140,000, is certain to generate interest from across Scottish local government.

Applications are expected from chief executives of several smaller authorities, with insiders tipping North Lanarkshire's head of regeneration Paul Jukes as a strong internal candidate.

Glasgow's head of land and environmental services, Brian Devlin, who was on the shortlist of four to become the city's CEO late last year, is another.

Mr Devlin earlier ran the arms-length roads maintenance firm for North Lanarkshire and his name has previously been linked with the post.

Announcing his retirement in an email to staff, Mr Whitefield said: "Since my appointment I have worked as hard as I can to develop the organisation to be one which is forward-thinking and constantly committed to providing the highest quality of service.

"The last two years have been particularly demanding and, having resolved a number of major issues over that period, the time is now right to pass responsibility to my successor to take the council forward."

North Lanarkshire political leader Jim McCabe said: "The most striking thing about Gavin is his 100 per cent commitment to everything he does and that's certainly true of his time as chief executive.

"I was elected leader in 1998 and Gavin came in as chief executive in 2000. We faced some serious challenges as a council and we have overcome them.

"During the last 15 years the organisation has changed dramatically. In fact, local government has changed dramatically and, despite challenges caused by austerity, Gavin has driven through some key policy commitments.

"He will certainly be a hard act to follow."

Mr Whitefield entered local government in 1976 with Clydesdale District Council .

In 1989 he joined Motherwell District Council as assistant director of housing, before taking up the role of director of housing when North Lanarkshire Council was formed in 1996.

In June 2011 he was awarded the CBE for services to local government in the Queen's birthday honours list.