Nazir gets top economy job as council completes senior management shake-up
A management reshuffle at the top of Birmingham city council has been completed by the appointment of Waheed Nazir as acting strategic director for the economy.
Mr Nazir, formerly director of planning and regeneration, will lead on the delivery of planning and regeneration, transportation, skills and employment, with special responsibility for pressing ahead with council leader John Clancy’s vow to build thousands of new homes for Birmingham.
Significantly, Mr Nazir becomes the eighth member of the corporate leadership team, formerly the executive management team.
The post, a 12-month contract, represents the final part of an extensive overhaul of senior positions following publication of the Kerslake Review which exposed a lack of management capacity at the top of the organisation.
The new-look senior management team, led by chief executive Mark Rogers, includes Piali DasGupta, assistant chief executive, Angela Probert, strategic director for integrated support services and change, Peter Hay, strategic director for people and Jacqui Kennedy, acting strategic director for place.
The two other members of the team, Paul Dransfield and Jon Warlow, have been given new roles.
Mr Dransfield is to become strategic director for the development and delivery of major economic programmes, but will cease to be deputy chief executive.
Mr Warlow is the new strategic director for finance and legal services with the legal responsibility for signing off the council budget each year.
Ms Probert, Mr Dransfield and Mr Warlow will be strategic directors in a new corporate resources directorate. The three other directorates – People, Place and Economy – remain as they are.
Chief executive Mark Rogers said the changes meant he now had the right leadership team in place with “the right people doing the right job”. He added:
Adding to and realigning the council’s senior officer leadership, or strengthening its strategic capacity, was a key area of improvement set out for us last year as we responded to the Kerslake Review into how we govern ourselves.
The appointment of Mr Nazir as strategic director for the economy is designed to send out a message that economic development and wealth creation is a key priority. The council has been criticised in the past for failing to reflect the importance of regeneration at the top of the management team.
City council leader John Clancy said:
Waheed has a huge amount of experience and has been central in driving through the regeneration of Birmingham. I have already said that this not just about the city centre but about regenerating all 40 wards, improving people’s skills and access to employment, transport and good quality housing.
Building more houses more quickly is my priority and I will be working closely with Waheed and his team as we continue to ensure Birmingham is leading the way in this area while at the same time encouraging businesses to invest here and make the city an attractive place to live, work and visit.
As the director of planning and regeneration Mr Waheed was responsible for overseeing the Big City Plan, a 20 year vision to encourage and drive the continued transformation of a world class city centre; the Birmingham Development Plan, the statutory framework which will guide decisions on development and regeneration in Birmingham up to 2031; and the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan, which sets out the council’s aspirations for the new HS2 terminus station and the wider regeneration potential of what will be one of the biggest urban regeneration schemes in the UK.
Mr Waheed said:
It is a real privilege to take up this interim post and I am delighted to have the opportunity to further contribute to shaping the strategic direction of the city and remain committed to directing transformational change across the city.
With responsibility for planning, regeneration, housing, skills and transportation, I am excited by the prospect of bringing these key interconnected priorities together, as it is only by building sufficient homes, creating a skilled workforce and delivering an effective transport system, supported by a clear vision for the future, that we will maximise opportunities for the city and the wider region to drive forward economic growth.
I am also looking forward to working at the most senior level in the city council and making my contribution to the corporate improvement and change priorities. Similarly, it will be exciting to continue the work with all our partners and the people of Birmingham to build on our recent successes.
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