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Wealth of experience in new chief executive

Thursday 11 July 2019

Christchurch City Council has appointed Dawn Baxendale as its new chief executive.

Mrs Baxendale is from Britain and has more than 28 years of experience working in public sector organisations, including local government, with 20 years in senior management roles.

“We are very excited about this appointment,” Christchurch Acting Mayor Andrew Turner says.

“Dawn comes with a huge reputation for getting things done,” Mr Turner says, “Her track record shows that she is committed to working collaboratively with business and a diverse range of communities.”

In Britain, local authorities are responsible for social services and Cr Turner says that experience will be valuable in Christchurch.

“She has turned around failing social services and has been able to attract massive private sector investment into successful city development.”

Cr Turner says Mrs Baxendale was an obvious choice for the role.

“Dawn has become a trusted advisor to central government on local government issues, and is the ‘go to’ chief executive for taking on major challenges.

“I’m sure she will settle in quickly and will be very visible in the community.”

Mrs Baxendale says she is looking forward to new challenges on the other side of the world.

“I am delighted to be taking up this exciting opportunity to join Christchurch City Council as its new chief executive,” she says, “I am looking forward to working with the elected members, staff and partners to deliver for the residents of Christchurch.

“I’m passionate about public service and providing high-quality services that put the customer at the centre of all we do,” she says, “I know this has been a focus for Christchurch City Council too.”

Mrs Baxendale is currently the chief executive of Birmingham City Council and before that she was chief executive of Southampton City Council.

Her experience is wide ranging and includes leading Birmingham and the major port cities of Southampton and Portsmouth. She also has experience in the industrial northern towns of Wigan and Kirklees and with the rural, coastal and urban environments of the Isle of Wight, Eastleigh and Havant.

“Birmingham is Britain’s second city,” Mrs Baxendale says. “It’s super diverse and my experience there will be of value to Christchurch, especially in the post-quake environment where there is a lot of regeneration.”

Along with her varied experience, Mrs Baxendale has a strong focus on commercial imperatives.

She has a track record of achieving clear business and commercial outcomes and has led negotiations that have delivered a strong mixed economy to the towns and cities where she has worked.

Her roles have often involved working closely with politicians and political parties and a wide range of administrations and organisations, including the European Union and the World Bank. She has been at the forefront of public sector reform in Britain, including regeneration, work skills, unemployment, health and social care.

Mrs Baxendale, aged 52, is married with two children.

“My family and I are really looking forward to becoming part of the Christchurch community,” she says. “This is an exciting time to be joining the Christchurch City Council as the city continues to evolve and develop, putting it at the forefront of sustainability internationally.”

Mrs Baxendale’s start date is still being negotiated.


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