Unit chief joins reorganizing county

The chief executive of Isle of Wight Council is to step down after six years in the role to join Cumbria CC, which is embarking on a process of reorganization to form two new unitary councils.

John Metcalfe, who joined the authority in 1997 as community development officer, is to step down from his council role to take on the lead role in Cumbria.

Mr Metcalfe will replace Cumbria’s interim chief executive John Readman after former chief Gill Steward resigned after just four months in the role, amid tensions over reorganization plans.

Mr Metcalfe was appointed as chief of the Isle of Wight in 2015 and oversaw the council’s response to the pandemic while driving improvements across the organisation.

On his decision to step down, Mr Metcalfe said: “It’s not a path I expected to go down but everything happens for a reason and personally and professionally it’s the right thing for me to do in this moment.

“I am excited about the challenges ahead of me in Cumbria,” he added.

Council Leader Lora Peacey Wilcox (Ind) said: “As Managing Director and with her outstanding support, the Council is more sustainable and innovative than ever and is well positioned to take advantage of future opportunities to improve the quality of life of islanders.

“As a result, we now have a clear business plan that sets out what we aim to achieve over the life of this board and we will soon agree another balanced budget…to achieve our wider aspirations” , she added.