An important figure in partnerships across the Solent region will be ending a 40-year career in local government as the Chief Executive of Portsmouth and Gosport Councils David Williams plans to step down from his role later this year.
David joined Portsmouth City Council as Chief Executive in 2007 and in 2016 it became a dual role as he assumed the same responsibilities for Gosport Borough Council alongside his existing role.
Highlights of his time working in Portsmouth include major projects such as Somerstown regeneration and coastal defences, the growth of the city’s International Port and a global spotlight from events including the D-Day 75 commemorations and America’s Cup World Series events.
During David’s tenure in Gosport the borough has secured Heritage Action Zone and High Street Action Zone status, built a new splash park in Lee-on-the-Solent and moved forward a number of regeneration projects.
David has also had a big impact at a regional level by playing a lead role in organisations such as the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and the Partnership for South Hampshire.
There has been a strong theme of partnership working as David led both councils to form stronger bonds with key local partners, including the creation of Health and Care Portsmouth, a multi-agency collaboration aligning health and care services in the city, and a City Vision generated through community participation. Other examples include liaison with the Football Club and Pompey Supporters Trust during the club’s administration, and working with the University, Royal Navy and business partners to establish Portsmouth University Technical College.
David said: “I’m very lucky to have been blessed with brilliant teams, colleagues and friends throughout my career. Equally we’ve had some great partners to work with in key organisations across the city and I’m really proud of the work everyone has delivered and the relationships we have forged that have put the city in a strong position to move forward.
“I have been fortunate to have been involved in a very wide range of exciting and ground-breaking work, which, together with the all-important business as usual, I believe has helped improve the circumstances and opportunities of the communities we serve.”
Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: “I’ve worked with David throughout his entire time in Portsmouth and he has been a terrific servant to the city, giving strategic direction and building the council’s reputation while always wanting the best for our residents. He is viewed as a leader amongst chief executives across Hampshire local authorities as a result of his experience and is particularly valued for the role he plays in partnership working across health and the NHS.
“As one of the longest-serving chief executives in the country, David has brought great stability to the council over the last 17 years, he has led the organisation well and has always shown great skill in working closely with politicians across the parties.”
Cllr Peter Chegwyn, Leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: “Since becoming council Leader last year, David has become a valued colleague. His leadership has inspired our teams to achieve great things for Gosport and put the foundations in place for the borough to enjoy even more success in the future.”
Prior to arriving in Portsmouth, David worked at a number of councils including Guildford, where he was also Chief Executive, and Poole, in senior planning and policy roles.
David is expected to leave his role in the summer with an exact date to be finalised once plans for a replacement are in place. Work to find a new chief executive for both councils has begun and will go through formal decision processes in the coming months.