SOUTH Ribble Borough Council has appointed Jean Hunter as its new interim chief executive.

Mrs Hunter, who previously held the post for 10 years, says her priority is to restore public confidence in the council.

The appointment completes a full change of leadership at the authority, following the election of new leader, Councillor Peter Mullineaux last week.

The pair have committed to working together to bring stability and a strong vision for the future.

"I am delighted to be returning to Lancashire," said Mrs Hunter, who was Chief Executive at South Ribble from 2000 to 2010, and has recently stepped down as Chief Executive for South Cambridgeshire District Council after six successful years.

"South Ribble has always held a very special place in my heart and I very much look forward to working with the Leader, councillors and staff to put this excellent council back at the top where it belongs.

"My priority is to get to the bottom of any instances when the council hasn't lived up to the high standards that residents rightly expect, and put things right. I have been brought in as Interim Chief Executive to deliver, and I will deliver. I will restore the reputation of this council for providing first class services to its residents."

Mrs Hunter, who is originally from Sunderland and a passionate Sunderland FC supporter, has held senior positions in local government for almost 30 years.

In her role at South Cambridgeshire she led a major service transformation programme, saving taxpayers £5m without affecting front line services and was able to make the council not just financially sound, but no longer dependent on central government grants. She won awards for her entrepreneurial leadership, achieved the prestigious Investors in People (IIP) Gold Award, and oversaw both the Greater Cambridge City Deal and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution deal.

Council Leader, Councillor Peter Mullineaux, welcomed the news. He said: "I am over the moon that Jean Hunter is making a return to South Ribble and am very much looking forward to working alongside her to push forward and really look to the future.

"It's an exciting time for the borough. As part of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, we are set to create thousands of new jobs, new homes and deliver 30 years of growth in a decade.

"I enjoyed working with Jean the first time around. A dynamic and inspirational leader, she was always incredibly popular with staff and councillors alike. Together we will make sure residents in South Ribble have a council they can be truly proud of."

Mrs Hunter, who has three older step children, three daughters and two grandchildren, was appointed by a cross-party panel of political leaders from the council, and replaces outgoing Chief Executive Mike Nuttall, who will leave in October. Her appointment is subject to full council approval at the next meeting on October 5.

The council will go through a thorough selection process to appoint a new permanent Chief Executive at a future date.