By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter
A permanent chief executive has been appointed at Croydon Council.
Katherine Kerswell will take on the £192,474-a-year role after being appointed the interim chief executive in September last year as the council was facing bankruptcy.
She was hired following an appointments committee meeting on Tuesday (May 25) which will be confirmed at full council in July.
The meeting heard that 46 chief executives were formally approached but after talking further with 31, just two applications were left to be considered.
Croydon Council appointed consultants from Gatenby Sanderson to help with the appointment.
Consultant Frazer Thouard, said the “scale of the challenge” in Croydon put some people off applying for the job.
Ms Kerswell takes on the top job as the council works to get its finances in order after having to issue a Section 114 notice at the end of 2020.
The council was able to balance its budget thanks to a loan from the Government.
Council leader Hamida Ali said: “I’m delighted to be able to welcome Katherine to Croydon on a more permanent basis. Over the past eight months she has proven herself to be an exceptional chief executive who is helping to improve our council and the way we deliver services to our residents.
“Her determination to meet all challenges head on, her financial acumen and her passion for the borough and its people have been instrumental in helping us deliver the improvements we are making.”
Leader of the opposition, councillor Jason Perry, said he is “delighted” Ms Kerswell is taking on the job permanently.
Ms Kerswell said: “I’m honoured that Croydon’s political leaders have put their faith in me to be the council’s permanent chief executive.
“The past year has been a very challenging one for the council and there are still some difficult times ahead, but we have come so far together and I couldn’t be happier that I will continue to be part of our improvement journey for this wonderful borough.
“There is much still to do to make sure Croydon is financially sustainable for the future but, despite these challenges, I know that by working together we can succeed and make a difference.”