Ipswich career man secures top job

IPSWICH career public servant David White has been named as Norfolk's top bureaucrat.The 54-year-old has been named as the new £195,000-a-year chief executive of Norfolk County Council.

IT IS a career which has taken him through the highs and lows of life in the public service.

Ipswich father David White has headed an impressive list of organisations, building himself a small fortune and laying claim to the title King of the Public Servants in East Anglia.

And today the career public servant with a knack for winning top jobs is preparing to move into his new office in the halls of power at Norfolk County Council after securing himself a £195,000-a-year deal as its new chief executive.

He won the role after leaving his previous post as managing director of Thurrock Council following a change in administration.

Mr White, a 54-year-old father-of-two, was given a financial farewell package from Thurrock in July worth £347,000, and before that he was chief executive of Suffolk Health Authority for eight years.

He held that post, complete with its own impressive salary package, between 1994 and 2002 and was one of the power brokers of the Suffolk community until he took a sizeable payout when the authority was replaced with five primary care trusts.

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Mr White's is a career in the public service that has spanned 17 years at the top and is an amazing story of enviable salaries and staggering payouts.

After accepting the job in Norfolk Mr White said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been offered the job and look forward to taking up my new position.”

His career stretches back to 1989 when he was director of Nottinghamshire Social Services - a position he resigned from after taking full responsibility for shortcomings in his department.

His career has attracted criticism and praise but colleagues who worked with him at the former Suffolk Health Authority today said he was well suited to the job at the Norfolk council.

Lilian Power, who was vice chairman of the Suffolk Health Authority when Mr White was chief executive, said: “He is a good guy, very competent at what he does and I think Norfolk are lucky to have him. They are in a very safe pair of hands.”

And Joanna Spicer, a member of Suffolk County Council's cabinet and former chairman of the Suffolk Health Authority, acted as a referee for Mr White when he applied for the Norfolk job.

She said: “I was well aware of the circumstances surrounding David's resignation in Nottinghamshire when he came to the health authority and, as chairman, I checked them very carefully.”

Mrs Spicer said Mr White was a very competent chief executive and she had no concerns with the pay-off he received when his role at the health authority was dissolved.

She said: “I think Norfolk County Council has made an excellent appointment and they are extremely lucky to have David.”

n What do you think of David White's appointment as Norfolk County Council's chief executive? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

WEBLINK: www.norfolk.gov.uk

1989 to 1994: director of Nottinghamshire Social Services but resigns after his department was criticised over shortcomings in the department

1994 to 2002: chief executive of Suffolk Health Authority until it was replaced with a network of primary care trusts

2002 to 2006: managing director at Thurrock Council until July under circumstances which John Kent, the council's leader of the Labour opposition, described as “shrouded in secrecy”

November 20, 2006: First day as chief executive of Norfolk County Council