Oldham Council chief executive agrees to postpone retirement

OLDHAM Council’s Chief Executive has agreed to remain in post for two more years after initially planning to retire at the end of this year.

Harry Catherall had announced his intention to retire earlier this year and the local authority had started a recruitment process to find his replacement.

But those plans have now been halted after the council’s cross-party Appointments Committee unanimously recommended that he be appointed for a further two years from January 2024, with some changes to his working arrangements.

The council says work will take place to “identify, train and develop a successor from within the council”.

Harry Catherall and Cllr Arooj Shah

Mr Catherall joined the authority in August 2021 following a 40-year career in local Government, which included being Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen and St Helens councils.

The 60-year-old has also held roles in high-performing children and adults social care services and overseeing large-scale public service improvement programmes.

The creation of a new Eton Star Oldham sixth form college, town centre regeneration and investment at Boundary Park for Latics and Roughyeds are among the developments he’s led on since joining Oldham Council.

The authority’s leader, Councillor Arooj Shah, welcomed the delaying of Mr Catherall’s retirement.

“I am absolutely delighted that Harry will continue to lead the organisation, seeing through the delivery of the exciting plans and projects he has put in place since joining us in 2021,” she said.

“As you know, over the last few months, we have been undergoing a recruitment process for Oldham’s next Chief Executive. While we did have a good field of candidates, we felt the level of experience didn’t meet the level of our aspirations and ambitions.

“As a result, the Appointment Committee have decided to halt the recruitment process at this stage and seek an alternative approach – a creative approach that we feel is right for Oldham, while also responding to and recognising the nationwide issues many organisations are having with the most senior recruitment.”

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