Recruitment process for Celtic Freeport Chief Executive gets underway
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
Neath Port Talbot Council has agreed to start the recruitment process for the role of Chief Executive for the Celtic Freeport.
The role, which was said by officers in attendance to be worth over 100k per year, could now be advertised as soon as August, with the successful candidate for the position being decided towards the end of the year.
The successful Celtic Freeport bid was helmed by Associated British Ports, alongside Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven in 2022.
Government approval was granted for the project in March 2023, which aims to generate billions of pounds in new inward investment and create up to 16,000 new jobs in south west Wales.
Members in attendance at today’s full council meeting (12 July) heard how the “pivotal role” of chief executive will initially be overseen by Neath Port Talbot Council, though will revert to the control of the Celtic Freeport Board as soon as it is established early in 2024.
They also heard how similar positions advertised by already existing Freeports in England had attracted salaries in excess of £110k per annum, however the final salary for this post will also be determined by the Celtic Freeport Project Board.
The report read: “There is a requirement to now progress the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive of the Celtic Freeport, and it is anticipated that such a process could take up to six months to facilitate, when matters such as advertisement, interview and requisite employment notices are considered.
“Accordingly, it is proposed to establish the post of Chief Executive – Celtic Freeport post within the established structure of Neath Port Talbot Council, acting as employer on behalf of the constituent parties of the Celtic Freeport. Neath Port Talbot Council is the Accountable Body of the Celtic Freeport hence the reasoning behind this Council undertaking the process on Celtic Freeport’s behalf.”
Labour Leader for Neath Port Talbot, Rob Jones, however questioned why there was no member involvement with the recruitment process, and said there needed to be more clarity in the proposals on the the timeline of the appointment.
Officers responded by offering to update the timeline in the report, with a successful candidate expected to begin the role in conjunction with the setting up of the Project Board in February of 2024.
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