Council chief to step down after 30 years in local government

The city’s top official has revealed she will leave her role in May, after almost a decade in the post.

Glasgow Council chief executive to step down after over 30 years in local government LDRS

Glasgow City Council’s chief executive, Annemarie O’Donnell, will step down later this year.

The city’s top official has revealed she will leave her role in May, after almost a decade in the post and over 30 years in local government.

A successor will be appointed before Ms O’Donnell quits her post, with recruitment to get under way immediately.

She said: “I’ve been privileged to have had the opportunity to serve our city for longer than I could ever have imagined when I joined the District Council more than 30 years ago — and fortunate to share nearly my whole working life with people that have been so dedicated to Glasgow and its people.

“But, I was still in my forties when I was appointed chief executive and, since then, nearly a decade has passed in the blink of an eye.

“It’s not a job that really allows you time or capacity to do or even think about much else and, when I look forward to the next ten years, I want to be able to start making room in my life for other things.”

Ms O’Donnell said councils have faced “extraordinary challenges” in recent years. “I think it would be a mistake for any of us to imagine that isn’t going to continue,” she added.

“However, every day, I work with colleagues who are innovative and resilient; totally committed to this city, and formidable leaders in their own right.

“Whoever follows me will be ready to meet those challenges, with a great team alongside them.”

Council leader Susan Aitken said it is “difficult to overstate Annemarie’s contribution to Glasgow during her long career at the council, and particularly as chief executive”.

“Her calm demeanour belies a real passion for the city and determination to make things better, especially for our residents and communities who face the biggest challenges.

“In a big city, there’s not a day goes by without some new issue being thrown up, often very daunting ones. 

“Annemarie’s professionalism, her focus on problem-solving and partnership-building, her trust in her team to deliver, her willingness to face tough decisions head on, and her compassion for those who’ll be affected by those decisions, have helped to see Glasgow through everything from major fires to a global pandemic.”

She added: “On a personal level, I’ve really enjoyed my close working relationship with Annemarie these past six and a half years. I’ve learned a lot from her and I’ll miss her very much.

“But I’m also looking forward to working with the next generation of professional leadership in what is the most challenging and exciting non-elected job in Scottish local government.”

Ms O’Donnell began her local government career with Glasgow District Council as a solicitor, then senior solicitor, in a team focused on construction, housing and planning.

After local government reorganisation in 1996, she was promoted to chief solicitor at Glasgow City Council. She became assistant head of legal and administrative services in 2003 and later spent two years on secondment as depute director of social work services.

In 2007, she returned to corporate services as assistant director and later director, before succeeding George Black as chief executive at the end of 2014.

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