40 under 40 – Revisited

By Heather Jameson | 19 September 2018

Bowing to twitter pressure following our latest 40 under 40 list, Heather Jameson goes back through the archives from 2004, 2006 and 2008 and asks if our rising stars of the past are still shining.

In July, The MJ published 40 under 40 – our list of 40 rising stars in the sector, under the age of 40. But it’s not the first time. Due to popular demand we’ve gone back through the archive and asked: ‘Where are they now?’ Just how far have our rising stars risen?

Whether they have risen to great heights, bowed out of local government, or – in the case of at least four of our former stars – married each other and had children, we wish them all well.

Heidi Alexander

Now: Deputy Mayor of London for Transport

Then: Deputy Mayor of Lewisham

Heidi may still be a deputy mayor – albeit on a different scale – but there has been so much in between. After winning a seat as Lewisham East MP in 2010, she was appointed shadow secretary of state for health in 2015 but resigned after less than a year amid a string of resignations over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

She quit as an MP altogether to take up a role with Sadiq Khan.

Mike Bennett

Now: Director, Public Intelligence

Then: Assistant director general, SOLACE

With an ambition to break four hours at his next marathon, Mike was setting his own pace. He has since set up his own consultancy, Public Intelligence, and moved to the south of France.

Now that is the kind of pace we would all like to follow.

Gillian Bishop

Now: Chief executive, North West Employers

Then: Chief executive of Allerdale BC

Having worked with fellow under-40er, Owen Williams, at troubled Rossendale BC, by 2006 Gillian was running the show at Allerdale. Her ambition was to deliver top quality services to the people of the borough. Presumably that was until she moved on to the North West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership, Wigan Council and a stint of consultancy.

As of last year, she is back, heading up the North West Employers’ organisation.

Niall Bolger

Now: Chief executive of Sutton LBC – soon to be Hounslow LBC chief

Then: Director of regeneration and environment, Barking and Dagenham LBC

Niall’s ambition was to work in international development on economic growth. Perhaps Sutton is not quite as international as he envisaged…but it is South of the river.

In his seven years in post, he has achieved a great deal – most notably leading on the partnership to create the London Cancer hub, the second biggest life science facility in the world.

Will Brooks

Now: Principal Adviser (Leadership), LGA

Then: Cabinet member for environment and transport, Ealing LBC

Will aimed to transform Ealing ‘back to its proper status as “Queen of the suburbs”’. Instead he stepped down as a councillor and stepped up his career at the Local Government Association, moving up through the ranks at the Conservative Group office and on to a post as principal adviser on leadership.

Jamie Carswell

Now: Director of housing and safer communities at Greenwich LBC

Then: Deputy Mayor of Hackney LBC

In 2006, Jamie’s big achievement was making the case for Hackney’s ALMO with the government and residents. Since then he has jumped ship from politics and landed as a director at Greenwich LBC, via Tower Hamlets homes and a stint at Essex CC.

Marcus Coleman

Now: Chief executive of the Sea Fish Industry Authority

Then: Assistant chief executive, Lincolnshire CC

His ambition was to bring private sector thinking to Lincolnshire’s community engagement. After five years at the authority, he went off to bring private sector thinking to his own career at Compass Point business services.

Now his career has taken a fishy turn (sorry!).

Ed Cox

Now: Director of public services and communities at the RSA

Then: Policy advisor to Hazel Blears, Secretary of state for communities and local government.

Previously head of policy at the LGIU, in 2008, Ed’s ambition was to act with common sense, make policy with creativity, lead with inspiration, and serve with humility. He has certainly served with creativity and humility as a regular columnist for The MJ (thanks, Ed!) during his eight years as director of IPPR North and we wish him luck in his (relatively) new role.

Jessica Crowe

Now: Executive head of customers, commissioning and governance at Sutton LBC

Then: Executive director for the Centre for Public Scrutiny

Her biggest achievement in 2008 was helping steer Hackney out of the mire and into three-star CPA status where she had been deputy major. Not a bad trick, and one which earned her a place as a commissioner for the intervention at Doncaster MBC – which is also now a mire-free zone.

Parmjit Dhanda

Now: Executive director, Back Heathrow

Then: Parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Communities and Local Government

MP for Gloucester from 2001 to 2010, Parmjit lost his seat to the coalition and his soaring political career thudded back down to earth. That’s politics for you. After six years at the union Prospects, he moved on to Back Heathrow – it seems his career is taking off (sorry again!).

And there are political memoirs...

Nathan Elvery

Now: Chief executive, West Sussex CC

Then: Director of finance and resource, Croydon LBC

In 2006, Nathan’s ambition was to become a chief executive. He has now achieved his goal – twice. First he took on the top job in Croydon LBC in 2013, and in 2016 he switched to West Sussex. In the meantime, he worked on a variety of cross London partnership projects but perhaps his biggest claim to fame is that he has worked in every tier of local government – but doesn’t think we should be bogged down by structures.

Jonathan Flowers

Now: Consultant and non-executive director

Then: Deputy chief executive, Bedfordshire CC

With an ambition to take his frontline services experience into a ‘strategic overview’ role, Jonathan certainly achieved that. He went from being a partner at recruitment firm Veredus to being local government market director at Capita before switching to a portfolio career as a consultant, adviser and non-executive director.

He hasn’t yet filled his ambition to be a council chief executive – but there is still time.

Becky Hellard

Now: Interim director of finance – currently at Redbridge LBC

Then: Chief executive, Breckland BC

Becky’s aim to was inject passion into people so they would wake up looking forward to work. After Breckland, she spent five years at Bradford City Council as director of finance and strategic change before heading to Liverpool for a further six years.

And Liverpool has certainly been a passionate place of late.

Mandy James

Now: Policy and engagement manager at Volunteering Matters

Then: Acting head of programmes at the LGA

Having just completed a secondment in Lewisham, Mandy’s ambition was to use that in future roles. Now she is working with councils, the NHS and voluntary organisations to promote the value of volunteering.

Chris Leslie

Now: MP for Nottingham East

Then: Director of NLGN

Having previously been an under-secretary at the Department of Constitutional Affairs – and an ODPM ministerial post – Chris’s past achievements included piloting the constitutional reform act through parliament and championing the location of the new supreme court. He joined the NLGN after losing his Shipley parliamentary seat in 2005, but was back by 2010, and rose to the heights, briefly, of shadow chancellor. But his failure to grasp the Corbynista spirit has seen him pushed onto the back benches – and last week he faced a Momentum-led vote of no confidence in his constituency.

Turbulent times.

Mark Lloyd

Now: Chief executive of the Local Government Association

Then: Deputy chief executive, Durham CC

After stating he wanted to be a chief executive of a county or unitary by the time he was 40, Mark was appointed to the top job at Durham CC in 2005 and led the charge to make it unitary. He headed up Cambridgeshire CC for seven years before landing the chief executive role at the LGA in 2015. Since then, the LGA has pushed the social care crisis up the agenda – but whether any amount of lobbying will lead to more cash in the Spending Review remains to be seen.

Florence Nosegbe – now Eshalomi

Now: Assembly member, Lambeth and Southwark, Greater London Assembly

Then: Labour deputy cabinet member for young people, Lambeth LBC

Florence recently stepped down as a Lambeth councillor, where she was cabinet member for communities and young people, to concentrate on her other role – since 2016 she has also been an assembly member for the GLA. She has also given up the day job – her career in communications.

Paul Medd

Now: Chief executive, Fenland DC

Then: Executive director, Fenland DC

Paul’s ambition was to continue to develop within his role at Fenland and one day become a chief executive. Tick and tick! Paul has continued to develop his role at Fenland where he has become chief executive.

Talk about achieving your goals!

Stephen Moir

Now: Executive director of resources, Edinburgh City Council

Then: Director of People and policy, Cambridgeshire

His biggest achievement was a year as PPMA president. With an ambition to stay in public services and keep learning. After a stint at Yorkshire Ambulance Service and NHS England – fulfilling his ambitions to stay in public services, Stephen is now happily ensconced in a senior role at Edinburgh City Council.

Gareth Moss

Now: Consultant

Then: Director of resources at East Staffordshire

Gareth’s personal ambition was to continue to enjoy working for organisations which make a difference to their residents. After East Staffordshire, he headed to Bridgend CBC, and then did a period of consultancy before joining Serco in 2010. He has been at Serco since, latterly as employment, skills and enterprise director, but is now making a comeback on the consultancy market.

Paul O’Brien

Now: Chief executive of APSE

Then: Chief executive of APSE

OK, so it may not look like much has changed for Paul since he appeared in 40 under 40 in 2004, but the organisation has gone from strength to strength. He claimed his short-term ambition was to expand the association and help local authorities improve their performance, and longer term he said he wanted to continue making a valuable contribution to public services.

Jules Pipe

Now: Deputy mayor for London, planning, regeneration and skills

Then: Mayor of Hackney

Fresh from rescuing the beleaguered Hackney LBC, Jules was tackling inequality in the borough when he appeared in 40 under 40. He succeeded in driving up education performance and boosting life chances, before delivering on regeneration surrounding the Olympics. He stepped down as mayor of Hackney in 2016 – without losing an election – in order to take up his post under London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Anna Randle

Now: Chief executive, Collaborate

Then: Head of organisation, NLGN

Anna asked for ‘answers on a postcard’ for her career plan back in 2004. For a woman without a plan, she did rather well, working as special adviser to former communities secretary Ruth Kelly and a researcher on the Lyons Review. With spells in consultancy, at the RSA and as head of policy and strategy at Lambeth LBC, Anna now works with local authorities across the country on systems change at collaborate.

Daniel Ratchford

Now: Chief executive, Quality Health

Then: Director of programmes, Capital Ambition

Daniel’s ambition was to be a chief executive of a London borough while he was still young enough to enjoy it. While obviously still young enough to enjoy it, he hasn’t taken on a borough yet. Daniel spent nearly four years at Sutton LBC, leading on community engagement and behaviour change, before taking on the chief exec role at Quality Health.

Martin Reeves

Now: Chief executive, Coventry City Council

Then: Chief executive, Bedfordshire CC

Martin’s personal ambition in 2008 was to become a ‘well-respected chief executive of a unitary authority’. Well, it is fair to say he has achieved that – in 2009 he rocked up at Coventry City Council and has been there since. But he has not been sitting still. He has served SOLACE in a number of roles, and he set up the West Midlands Combined Authority as its interim chief executive before handing over the reins to Deborah Cadman.

Sarah Richardson

Now: Managing director, Corporate, Weber Shandwick

Then: Cabinet member for children’s services, Westminster City Council

Sarah was all about the kids. In 2008, her biggest achievement was her daughter Claudia, and her biggest ambition was to deliver better educational outcomes for the children of Westminster. Another of our former rising political stars to have left politics behind, Sarah has held a number of high profile communications jobs, including at communications firm Edelman and energy company Centrica.

Giles Roca

Now: Director general, Tobacco Manufacturers' Association

Then: Head of media and marketing, Essex CC

Having held previous posts at the LGA, Scottish Parliament and House of Lords with…erm, Lord Hanningfield… Giles’ biggest achievement was a successful campaign to halt post office closures in Essex. After a head of strategy job at Westminster City Council, Giles headed to the TMA.

Not sure the public health message is quite the same as his council days.

Wallace Sampson

Now: Chief executive, Harrogate BC

Then: Customer services director, Bradford City Council

In 2004, Wallace suggested he would want a chief executive role next – or he could possibly head into the private sector – but he said predicting where he would be in 10 years’ time was just too far ahead…but early retirement looked promising.

In 2008, he landed the job as chief executive of Harrogate. Ten years on, he is still in post…and he still hasn’t retired!

Andy Sawford

Now: Managing partner, Connect

Then: Chief executive, LGIU

Having previously worked as a director of communications and public affairs firm, Connect, Andy rocked up at LGiU with an ambition to make it Britain’s ‘leading’ think tank. But he was enticed by the ‘glamour’ of Westminster, winning a seat as MP for Corby when Louise Mensch stepped down. Despite his short service, he served as shadow minister for communities and local government, and served on a select committee before he was ousted at the General Election.

Now he has come full circle back to Connect where he is running the show.

Duncan Sharkey

Now: Corporate director of place, Milton Keynes Council

Then: Chief executive, West Lindsey DC

After leaving West Lindsey, Duncan took up the reigns as managing director of Worcester City Council, where he negotiated his way through two switches in political control: firstly from the conservatives to Labour, then back to the Tories. He joined Milton Keynes in 2015 under recently departed chief Carole Mills.

As far as The MJ is aware he has, thus far, failed in his ambition to win the lottery.

David Simmonds

Now: Deputy leader of Hillingdon LBC

Then: Deputy leader of Hillingdon LBC

At first glance it may not appear like David has gone very far – but his ambition was to show local government can lead the way in change management. Tick. David was recently ousted as leader of the Conservative Group at the LGA, a post he has held since March 2017. He has become a familiar face of the association, fronting much of the media particularly when he chaired the children and young people’s board.

He was awarded a CBE in 2015.

Barbara Spicer

Now: Chief executive of Plus Dane Housing

Then: Director of policy, performance and partnerships, Knowsley MBC

With a background as a Knowsley MBC ‘tea girl’, Barbara’s ambition was to become a council chief executive and a long-term plan to run a pub in the country. She achieved her first ambition, taking on the top job at Salford where she managed to bring the BBC to the borough. After a stint at the skills funding agency, she took the helm at Plus Dane Housing where she has since earned herself a place in the New Years Honours and the title of ‘female business leader of the year’ in some local Liverpool awards.

Perhaps the pub is yet to come.

Richard Stokoe

Now: Lecturer and consultant

Then: Head of news, Local Government Association

Richard’s achievement was making the LGA media team a crack operation. From there he went on to be head of communications at London Fire Brigade before taking an MSc in disaster management, specialising in communications and tornadoes.

Now he lectures in disaster management, works as a communications consultant and walks his dog in Cornwall.

Jason Stacey

Now: Director of Policy, Research, Communications & International at YMCA England

Then: Leader of Ealing LBC

It’s fair to say Jason achieved his goal: not to mess up as the leader of Ealing LBC – although he did lose political control as the authority swung back to labour in 2010 after just one term.

Jason, who had previously headed up the LGA Conservative group office, headed off to the YMCA and has been there since.

Corin Thomson

Now: Engagement manager at strategy and economics advisory firm AlphaBeta

Then: Programme director of improvement and performance, LGA

Corin moved back to Australia in 2011 to be director of innovation and development at New South Wales Government Department of Local Government before becoming special adviser to the minister for local government during a major local government restructure. She became a senior adviser to the NSW Premier before deciding to go into consultancy last year.

Top top it all, Corin has two lovely children and lives by the sea.

Robin Tuddenham

Now: Chief executive, Calderdale Council

Then: Head of community safety, Waltham Forest LBC

After seven years as director of communities and business change at Calderdale, Robin took on the top job of chief executive last year – fulfilling his stated ambition of taking on a local government leadership role.

During his time at Calderdale, Robin led on the regeneration of The Piece Hall in Halifax, a derelict eighteenth century cloth hall that has been transformed into a community space with restaurants, bars and shops.

Nick Walkley

Now: Chief executive of Homes England

Then: Assistant chief executive, Barnet LBC

In 2004, Nick was coming to terms with the fact he wasn’t going to be a centre forward for Manchester United. Instead, he went on to be chief executive of Barnet LBC, creating the infamous ‘easycouncil’, before heading off to the top job at Haringey LBC. He left Haringey with regeneration plans in place (alright, they may be faltering a bit since he left).

Nick is now tasked with solving the national housing crisis. No pressure.

Alan Wardle

Now: Director of public affairs, ABTA

Then: Programme director for public affairs, LGA

Alan’s big achievement in 2008 was from his days at Stonewall where he helped get civil partnerships for gay couples into law. After five years with the NSPCC, Alan is now in holiday mode at travel agent association ABTA.

Don’t ask about Judith Chalmers…

Owen Williams

Now: Chief executive of Calderdale and Huddersfield NH

Then: Chief executive, Rossendale BC

Owen’s ambition quoted Richard Pryor. He claimed: ‘The greatest moment is the one you are in’. And at the moment, he is working for the NHS, having spent six years as chief executive of Calderdale. Very successful.

The former marketing director of Bradford also claimed he wanted to make Rossendale the ‘new capital of the North West’. Perhaps less successful.

Nathan Yeowell

Now: Head of policy and external affairs, New Philanthropy Capital

Then: Head of office, LGA Labour Group

In 2008, Nathan wanted to continue to see labour local government working with Labour national government. Yep, that’s a bit if a grey area these days. After the LGA, Nathan carried on his work with Labour at London Councils before taking up a post as policy advisor at Sutton LBC, before shifting his thoughts to the charity sector.

Who did we miss?

If you were in 40 under 40 and are not listed, tweet us at @themjcouk #40under40

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