Who is the new Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council?
Sunderland City Council has appointed a new Chief Executive.
Irene Lucas has taken on the position for a two year fixed-term period from April 1 until March 31, 2019, having carried out the role on an interim basis since April last year.
Her previous jobs include Director General of Local Government in the Department of Communities and Local Government and Chief Executive at South Tyneside Council.
She has spent the majority of her career in Sunderland, first joining the council in 1977 and spending 25 years in various roles in culture, leisure, public works and as Assistant Chief Executive.
She moved to South Tyneside Council as its Chief Executive in 2002 and then on to Whitehall in 2008 as Director General of Local Government and Regeneration, including some time as Permanent Secretary.
Before joining Sunderland as its Interim Chief Executive last year, she ran her own company working with government departments and 105 different local authorities.
Irene, who was appointed CBE in 2008 for her services to Local Government, said: "I'm delighted to be staying for another two years. I have a real affinity for Sunderland and I'm passionate about achieving the very best for the city and everyone who lives here.
"There's a huge sense of momentum in the city with developments like the new bridge and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, not to mention Sunderland hosting the Tall Ships next year and the bid to be UK City of Culture. I'm very much looking forward to playing my part on all these exciting developments."
Coun Paul Watson, the Leader of Sunderland City Council, welcomed the news, saying: "I'm delighted Irene has confirmed her commitment to Sunderland by taking on this role.
"In her 12 months in post as interim chief executive, Irene has already made a significant impact both in terms of what she has achieved within the council and her influence in the city as a whole.
"This has included driving forward continued progress in Children's Services, making sure that Sunderland is maximising its potential when it comes to economic growth and reshaping the council to best meet the needs of the city.
"You only have to look at some of the recent developments in Sunderland to see how things are changing for the better, whether its the magnificent New Wear Crossing pylon which has recently taken its place on the city's skyline or work progressing on the Vaux site.
"We've also seen continued investment in the city centre with a new hotel, arts and cultural quarter and the bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.
"And there is much, much more to look forward to following the green light for the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) and the 5,000 plus jobs it will bring with it."