THE CITY'S new council chief executive is on a mission to create opportunity for everyone in Southampton

Mike Harris says he is incredibly passionate about the city having been chosen for the role this week.

He has been acting CEO since previous holder, Sandy Hopkins left in February 2022 after three years of service.

He said: “I am immensely proud to be recommended for the position of chief executive at Southampton City Council. 

"I am incredibly passionate about Southampton; its people, places and opportunities, and am looking forward to leading my amazing team of colleagues on our mission to create a city of opportunity for everyone.”

Mr Harris will remain in his current post of acting chief executive until approval of the chief officer employment panel’s recommendation by the council on July 20.

His employment comes less than five weeks after the council administration shifted from Conservative to Labour.

Leader of the Labour-run council, Cllr Satvir Kaur said: "I am delighted that Mike’s appointment is being recommended to the council.

"Mike has worked in various roles at the council for 23 years, with a strong track record of leadership and a proven commitment to the city.

"As a new administration, we are looking forward to working with Mike to deliver for the city, and we know he will provide the stability, diligence and strategic foresight the organisation requires."

The new permanent head of the paid service will lead all of Southampton City Council's officers to bring any plans, policies, and changes made by the authority into fruition.

Cllr Ivan White who represents Bitterne ward for the Conservatives said: “The new CEO will have his work cut out as he tries to overcome challenges such as the national recession which may have affected our city.”

Mr Harris, who began as acting CEO under a Conservative administration will now have to work to implement decisions made by a Labour majority.

Cllr White went on to say: “The Labour administration seems to want to sell things before they even have them. They are like farmers selling seeds before they have grown. So, the CEO’s job is going to be a difficult one.”

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