Paul Lawrence starts as the capital’s Chief Executive

Paul Lawrence, Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, sitting at a desk and smiling.
Paul Lawrence, Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council

Paul Lawrence officially takes up the post of Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council on Monday (17 June).

Succeeding Andrew Kerr, who retires this weekend after nine years in the role and 42 years of public service, Paul will work closely with the existing management team and Leader Cammy Day to drive forward key priorities for the Council.

Welcoming Paul to the post, Council Leader Cammy Day said:

On day one of his new role, I’d like to warmly welcome Paul Lawrence to the position of Chief Executive. We have much to look forward to as we build on the improvements we’ve already made to  council services and continue to deliver on our ambitious priorities for the Capital.

This is a busy year for the city with plans for new schools and housing underway, improvements to transport links and designs for the UK’s first visitor levy to be shaped. That alongside our continued investment in the essential services we know residents rely on every day and, of course, the forthcoming election.

I’d also like to pass on my best wishes and thanks to Andrew Kerr for his many years of dedication, hard work, and leadership. After an impressive 42 years’ worth of commitment to public service I wish Andrew a truly happy and healthy retirement with his loved ones.

Having served as the Council’s Executive Director of Place since 2015, Paul Lawrence starts his role as Chief Executive with extensive experience running the city’s planning, housing, transport, regulatory services and environment services, as well as economic development and culture.

Paul began his local government career in 1990 as Arts Director for Durham City Council before moving to Northern Arts as Assistant Chief Executive in 1997. He went on to spend 10 years at Newcastle City Council as Head of Culture, and later Assistant Chief Executive, before becoming Corporate Director, Place, at Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council in 2010.

Councillors unanimously approved a report recommending his appointment at a meeting last month (9 May) following a competitive interview process.

Incoming Chief Executive Paul Lawrence said:

It is a real privilege to begin serving as Chief Executive. This is a city I am proud to have called home for almost 10 years.

Having served as the council’s Director of Place since 2015, I’m fortunate to be able to bring a deep understanding of the challenges and exciting opportunities facing Scotland’s capital to this role. In the busy weeks and months ahead, I’m pleased this experience will allow me to get to work quickly. And I have much work to do – not least serving as the Returning Officer for the general election in less than three weeks’ time!

I’d like to congratulate Andrew on his retirement and thank him for his many, many years of service. I’m delighted to get started and to build on his achievements.

Andrew Kerr took up his post as Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council in July 2015, having previously held the same role at North Tyneside, Wiltshire and Cornwall Councils. In 2021, Andrew was awarded the OBE for services to the public sector in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

Speaking on his last day, Andrew Kerr said:

I’m hugely proud to have dedicated my entire working life to local government and public service and I know Paul will lead this council with the same passion and dedication. I’m confident that under his new leadership, the City of Edinburgh Council will continue to go from strength to strength, delivering the best services it can for the people of this incredible city.

I’m fortunate to end my career here in Edinburgh and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone I have worked with, for their unwavering commitment to this city. It has been an honour to work with such talented and resilient colleagues during both prosperous and challenging times. I wish everyone well for the future.

Published: June 14th 2024