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News - 27 September 2004
Tough act to follow

Business Community suggestions for new Chief Executive

Brighton's Business Community calls for a visionary, charismatic, person-managing diplomat who can work within a difficult political set-up to deliver the vision of a world-class city in the 21st Century.

An informal surrvey conducted by the Business Forum and the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership (BHEP) has shown overwhelming support for the direction and vision that the city is now pursuing. From a wide range of businesses there was not a single opinion that the pace of change and proposed development was anything other than entirely appropriate for our city.

Consequently there is a strong desire to see a Chief Executive who can support, endorse and further the bold vision that has been established. There is genuine concern that the current political stalemate will cause the vision to falter at a time when its realisation is more important than ever. The chair of the BHEP - Simon Fanshawe - made the point at a reception to say farewell to David Panter that the business community hoped that Councillors would put the interests of the city and the progress of the city vision above party politics and that the business community wanted stable political management and vibrant delivery not instability and jockeying

A Chief Executive that represents a “safe pair of hands” who can “hold the line” would not be acceptable to the business community. They must be bold but they must be diplomatic to navigate the fractured political landscape. They must either have an excellent understanding of the fragile make-up of our city or an ability to grasp it very, very quickly. Inevitably, the business community would also like to see someone who values and understands their contribution to the prosperity of Brighton & Hove.

There is a belief that, after many reorganisations in a relatively short period of time, thefe is a real need for a period of structural stability in the local authority but the temptation for any new Chief Executive to stamp his/her mark on the organisation with a reorganisation/restructuring/refocusing etc will be strong. There is a danger that this action will result in the loss of staff at all levels. The new Chief Executive should have the charisma and people skills to raise morale and inspire staff to feel valued and important but be able to make tough decisions about the budget and basic services and explain them cogently. No mean feat.

Read related items on:
Local government
Brighton & Hove Business Forum
Brighton & Hove City Council
Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership
Fanshawe, Simon
Panter, David

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