04 September 2003 | Robin Parker
A local council in Surrey has named a former purchasing director as its new chief executive.
Stephen Weigel, director of regeneration and support services at Thurrock Council, will join Tandridge District Council in Oxted next January when Philip Thomas, the current chief executive, retires.
Weigel joined Thurrock as director of procurement and customer services two years ago. He developed its procurement strategy and oversaw a scheme that has helped local firms to win contracts worth £17 million.
He began his local government career at the London Borough of Greenwich, where he first realised the strategic role that purchasing could play.
At Thurrock, he has just put out to tender a 15-year contract for the delivery of administration, customer services, benefits and financial services.
With Andy Flood, Thurrock's head of procurement, he has also co-ordinated an urban development project as part of the Thames Gateway Initiative.
"I have always seen procurement as an opportunity to make savings and avoid cutting services, as well as to help promote equality standards,'' he said.
Tandridge is one of 11 district councils in Surrey.
Weigel said he would move to ensure that purchasing played a key role in maintaining Tandridge's services and its low council tax rates.