A NEW temporary chief executive at Southampton City Council has been appointed.

Council officials have promoted Dawn Baxendale as the interim chief executive, to take over from Alistair Neill, who has quit the £165,000-a-year post to run Herefordshire County Council.

The appointment must now be cleared by councillors in January, but if the move is ratified she will officially start on March 1, working until a permanent replacement for Mr Neill is found, who is due to start late next summer.

Ms Baxendale is currently the Director of Environment and Economy and has worked in Southampton City Council since 2009.

Council leader Richard Williams, who chaired the employment panel that selected her, said: "I am delighted that Dawn has agreed to accept the post. Dawn has a wealth of local government experience at the most senior level and will provide inspirational leadership to the council in the months ahead.

"The next few years will be challenging for the council as we try to balance the huge budget problems we face with reshaping the council to deliver quality services and secure new opportunities for growth, development and sustainability.

"I am confident that Dawn will be excellent in supporting the council’s workforce and developing a cohesive and high performing strategic leadership team during the next six months”.