The man who led the response to the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal is to be the new chief executive of Lewisham Council.
Ian Thomas, 48, previously held the job of strategic director for children and young people at Rotherham Council. He takes over from the long serving Lewisham chief executive Barry Quirk, who moved to Kensington and Chelsea in the wake of the Grenfell fire.
Under Thomas’s control, the Ofsted rating of child services in the Rotherham area went from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good with outstanding features’.
Also as part of the response to Britain’s worst ever child sex scandal, he worked with partner organisations to convict 30 sex offenders, who are now serving around 400 years in jail between them.
Thomas said: “I feel both humbled and privileged to be offered the role of Chief Executive of Lewisham Council. This is an exciting time for the borough, which has been well led by Dr Barry Quirk and Sir Steve Bullock over many years.”
The recommendation has been made following a rigorous selection process by an appointment panel consisting of Sir Steve, Mayor of Lewisham and a cross-party group of eight councillors.
Organisations such as Lewisham Hospital, the Metropolitan Police, Goldsmiths University of London and SE London Chamber of Commerce also took part in the selection process.
Sir Steve said: “I am delighted that Ian Thomas has been recommended to be our new Chief Executive. Ian is an incredibly impressive and talented leader and he will bring a wealth of experience from his senior roles with Rotherham, Derbyshire and Trafford councils.
“His skills, experience and knowledge made him an outstanding candidate and I am confident he will work alongside Lewisham’s communities to make our borough the best place in London to live, work and learn.”
Quirk, who had been chief executive at Lewisham since 1994 was initially seconded to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea last June to help with the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, in which the authority has come in for severe criticism. Quirk eventually resigned in September 2017 to take up the role full time.