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Commuting CEO comes back to Cambridgeshire to head CAPCA 

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Rob Bridge, until 2017 finance director of Fenland District Council and since then chief executive of Welwyn Borough Council and latterly of North Northamptonshire Council, is the new chief executive of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA).

Mr Bridge has never left Cambridgeshire.

“This is a place that I both live in with my family and love,” he said.

“Working in the area in such a key role will be an honour.”

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His salary has not been revealed but at Northamptonshire it was £170,000 a year. His CAPCA salary is unlikely to be less than the £200,000 a year paid to former chief executive Eileen Milner.

Ms Milner quit the role last May – after just 10 months – following a fall out with Mayor Dr Nik Johnson

Ms Milner, former head of the Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency, said she left that job for “a new challenge” at CAPCA.

However, behind the scenes at CAPCA there were acrimonious tensions between her and Dr Johnson which became so bad that they rarely met in person.

Ms Milner told the CAPCA board that the “negative impact” had affected her health and wellbeing.

Mr Bridge begins at CAPCA after a major re-structuring and after an improvement board recommended and implemented massive changes.

His CV includes a spell at South Cambridgeshire District Council where he had briefly been a corporate finance manager and before that worked briefly for Peterborough City Council as a financial controller.

He had previously worked for HM Prison Service as head of finance and procurement.

A CAPCA spokesperson said: “Rob’s appointment as CEO follows a thorough recruitment process.

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“This included a formal interview with the Combined Authority’s employment committee members and stakeholder engagement with a number of chief executives of Combined Authority constituent authorities.”

‘Successful strategic leader”

The spokesperson said: “A Cambridgeshire resident, Rob has overseen the successful implementation of a wide range of projects and initiatives, including the establishment of North Northamptonshire Council as a new unitary authority.

“Rob was previously chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. As a successful strategic leader, Rob has driven positive cultural change that allows people to be their very best.”

He joins CAPCA in June.

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “I’m delighted that after a thorough and detailed recruitment process for a new chief executive we have been able to appoint a new CEO of the experience and calibre of Rob.

Meeting with Anthony Browne MP for South Cambridgeshire to chat about plans for the region, including #transport and the #environment. “Great to hear how keen he is to co-operate with me on these, and other issues,” said Mayor Dr Nik Johnson.

“His appointment comes at a very good time; under Gordon Mitchell’s interim leadership as CEO, the Combined Authority has been under a very significant programme of change and transformation to make the organisation better set up for delivery and meeting the commitments of the devolution deal.

Solid foundations

“Rob will be challenged to now take the authority forward off the back of much more solid foundations which have been built up over the last nine months.”

He started his role in November 2020 with the North Northamptonshire Shadow Authority in preparation for the new unitary council which came into existence in April 2021.

Mr Bridge, who was corporate director and chief finance officer at Fenland Hall for eight years, has a diploma in management from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

 

 

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