West Sussex County Council appoints new Chief Executive

“I am extremely pleased that Leigh is joining us to build on the excellent work of our current Chief Executive Becky Shaw"

Leigh Whitehouse - New Chief Executive of West Sussex County Council.

Release date: 22 March 2024

Leigh Whitehouse has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of West Sussex County Council.

Leigh will be joining from Surrey County Council where he is currently the interim Chief Executive, acting up from his substantive role of Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Resources.

Cllr Paul Marshall, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “I am extremely pleased that Leigh is joining us to build on the excellent work of our current Chief Executive Becky Shaw.

“Leigh will be joining us at a time of continued investment and strengthening of the key services that support our residents, communities, and businesses. He is joining a strong team that will help support him as he helps us build on our strong foundations for the future.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Becky for all she has achieved in her time with us and it is greatly appreciated that our strong partnership with East Sussex will continue as Becky moves back to being the full-time Chief Executive there.”

Current Chief Executive Becky Shaw added: “I am happy to be able to leave WSCC in such capable hands as Leigh’s and look forward to working with him in the future. I am proud of all we have achieved during my time at WSCC and know the team will support Leigh as he joins WSCC.”

Leigh said:

"It is a real privilege to have been appointed as the Chief Executive at West Sussex County Council and I know I am joining the county at a time of sustained improvement.

“While our sector is facing huge pressure with continued uncertainty and growing demand for our services, the council is well placed to meet these with confidence.

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the warm welcome I've already received from colleagues I encountered during the recruitment process. I'm particularly thankful for Becky's support, and I'm looking forward to being able to work with the council’s leadership team to build on the foundations she has put in place.”

Leigh has more than 25 years’ experience in Local Government, starting his career in Finance at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, where he worked his way from graduate trainee accountant up to Deputy Director of Finance, either side of a spell at the London Borough of Hillingdon as Head of Financial Planning.

In 2010, Leigh joined the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames as Director of Finance, a role he occupied until 2017 when he moved to the London Borough of Bexley as interim Director of Finance & Corporate Services.

In 2018 he joined Surrey County Council as Director of Finance in 2018. In 2019, he was appointed Executive Director of Resources, with responsibility for key corporate functions such as HR, IT&D, Land & Property, Transformation, Strategy and Policy. In 2021 he was appointed as Deputy Chief Executive at Surrey CC. He has been credited with overseeing major transformation at the council as well as modernising working practices, including the project to relocate the County Council’s HQ back into Surrey after over 50 years of it sitting outside of the County.

Becky will continue in the post of Chief Executive until Leigh is ready to join West Sussex.

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