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New role to drive forward city’s net zero ambitions

Published: 23 November 2021

New role to drive forward citys net zero ambitions Chief Executive and Growth Director Karime Hassan

The Leader of Exeter City Council is proposing a pioneering senior management officer shake-up to try to deliver on the city's Net Zero ambitions.

Members are being asked to pass plans so Chief Executive and Growth Director Karime Hassan can work both inside and outside the Council to make inroads into the £1billion-plus ambition.

Mr Hassan would work three days a week for ECC and two focussing on work with Exeter City Futures, the city's community interest company working collaboratively in the city to help it become carbon neutral.

Cllr Phil Bialyk, Leader of the City Council, said: "The scale of what we would need to do is truly unbelievable. That simply can't be delivered by a district council alone.

"I need Karime to now urgently secure buy-in from the city to try to deliver solutions to secure all our futures.

"We have declared a climate and ecological emergency. We have a plan and understand the scale of the task at hand.

"This is now about driving the city agenda. We can lead but it will touch the lives of everyone.

"The roadmap shows us that this is more than a £1billion task. The money needs to be found in private and institutional investors."

The changes would start in January and are separate to plans to address the City Council's own carbon footprint.

Director of Transformation, Jo Yelland, would support Karime three days a week.

Cllr Rachel Sutton, Exeter City Council's Lead Councillor for Net Zero, said: "I am delighted that the Council is looking to put this resource into Net Zero, on top of everything else.

"We need a new and brave plan for the climate change situation. It will require a new and brave solution and focussing Karime and the team onto it is exactly what is needed."

Glenn Woodcock, board member and Founder of Exeter City Futures, said "Exeter City Council has been a key supporter of Exeter City Futures since the publication of the city energy independence report in 2015. The city’s declaration of intent to reach net zero carbon by 2030 marks the need to move from thought leadership to implementation.

“For ECC to commit such a transformational and respected leader as Karime Hassan to the role of CEO of Exeter City Futures will show an absolute commitment to delivery of this goal, not only by ECC but by Karime himself. This is of great significance for the future of the City," he added.

A variety of senior management changes are also proposed in the paper to absorb and deliver the other Council priorities, including delivering on medium term financial plan through Deputy Chief Executive Bindu Arjoon.

The report says: "Net Zero Exeter 2030 is one of the Council's key strategic priorities.

"The Council has declared a Climate Emergency and a degree of urgency needs to be injected into the work in support of this agenda.

"The City Council cannot achieve a Net Zero Exeter on its own, the plan requires the support of partner organisations and a shared endeavour.

Exeter City Futures CIC was set up by partner organisations in support of the city's vision to be a leading global city in addressing the challenges of climate change.

"The Net Zero programme and the role expected of Exeter City Futures requires a variety of skills associated with private and public sector partnerships. At this early stage in the programme there is definitely a challenge around leadership, the tasks associated with building the programme of delivery requires skills that are typically expected of leaders in the public sector working on strategic issues that require system architecture, municipal entrepreneurial activity, and soft and hard skills associated with project management, collaborative skills and building a campaign.

"The CEO & the Director of Transformation have a good grounding in the specific issues facing the city in addressing the challenge of Net Zero and enjoy positive relationships with the city's institutions and business networks which gives confidence that the city can accelerate progress and gain traction with the Net Zero plan."

The report will be discussed at Executive on November 30 and full council on December 14. You can read the report on the Agenda for Executive - Tuesday 30th November 2021 5.30pm

Changes would take place at the start of the New Year.

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