Nottingham City Council has appointed an interim chief executive to steer it through the current coronavirus crisis after current chief executive Ian Curryer leaves at the end of April.

Katherine Kerswell will take up the role from May 1st, bringing extensive experience as chief executive of five local authorities over a 15 year period, most recently at the London Borough of Newham. Katherine will oversee the period between Ian leaving and the council appointing a new permanent Chief Executive in the coming months, with the process for that well underway.

Ian announced he was leaving after more than 20 years of working in the city to take up an appointment by the Secretary of State for Education to the new role of Chair of Children First Northamptonshire, a Trust for Children’s Services in the county.

Katherine will work alongside Ian from mid-April to ensure a smooth handover. As well as her local authority experience, from 2012 to 2014 Katherine was the first Director General in the Cabinet Office to have responsibility for civil service reform and efficiency. She has also worked for a Community Healthcare Trust in London.

The City Council’s Leader, Councillor David Mellen, said: “These are very turbulent times, and we are assured that Katherine will provide steady and confident leadership to steer us through the current crisis, and set out a good foundation for our recovery, so that we can eventually move forward with our ambitious plans for the city and our citizens. 

“We extend a warm welcome to Katherine and look forward to working with her in the coming months. We also thank Ian for the major contribution he has made to the city and the council and wish him well in his new role. Meanwhile we remain fully focused on keeping essential services running during these unprecedented times.”

Ian joined Nottingham City Council as a primary school adviser in September 1999 and held a number of roles in the Education department and Children’s Services before becoming Director of Children’s Services in 2008. He became the council’s Chief Executive in January 2013.

He oversaw a period of major change for both the council and the city, when Nottingham embarked on a £2 billion redevelopment The period has also seen the opening of new tram lines the development of Sneinton Market and the Creative Quarter, developing the city’s profile internationally, and introducing major programmes within the council to transform the way it works.