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Joanna Killian named as next LGA Chief Executive

Joanna Killian has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Local Government Association.

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Joanna Killian has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Local Government Association (LGA). She will join the LGA in March from her current role as Chief Executive of Surrey County Council. 

Cllr Shaun Davies, Chair of the LGA, said: “As we head into a General Election year, and with councils facing financial pressures like never before, the experience, skills and insight Joanna brings to the LGA will be a huge asset for the organisation and our membership. 

“Her local government expertise, networks and knowledge developed in previous high-profile roles – both in councils and the private sector – will be invaluable in ensuring the LGA continues to be a strong and united voice for local government in the debates that matter. The LGA’s political group leaders and I are all delighted that Joanna will be joining us soon.”

Joanna Killian said: 

“Local government plays a vital role in communities up and down the UK, making a real difference every single day. It’s a sector I feel very privileged to work in, and I’m glad to be continuing that journey with the LGA.

“I know from my time at Surrey that councils are full of wonderful people, with bright ideas and huge energy, working hard to improve people’s lives. I look forward to working closely with local authorities of all types and political colours in my new role.

“I am excited to get to work with the LGA’s political leadership, members, staff and wider stakeholders to ensure we continue to stand up for local government and the people and places we serve.”

Notes to editors

Joanna is currently Chief Executive of Surrey County Council, serving 1.2 million residents and managing a gross annual revenue budget of £2bn. She has led the authority during a significant period of challenge and change since joining in March 2018. She was also Chief Executive of Essex County Council from 2006 to 2015. 

Since June 2021, Joanna has been the Local Government Improvement Commissioner at Liverpool City Council, appointed by the Secretary of State. She is also Chair of the Association of County Chief Executives and Chair of Trustees at St Mungo's. 

Between 2015 and 2018, Joanna was Partner and Head of Local Government at KPMG where she led the advisory practice across local government and the wider public sector, focusing on restructure, service improvement, public sector reform, and refinancing. Between 2000 and 2005, Joanna held a number of roles within the Audit Commission, giving her direct experience of working in, and with, Whitehall.

Sarah Pickup is currently Acting Chief Executive of the LGA, and will continue in this role until Joanna joins the LGA.