THE chief executive of Neath Port Talbot Council will retire later this year.

Karen Jones has been in the position since 2020, taking the council through the covid pandemic, but she has worked in a number of roles in the council for more than 20 years.

Speaking on her decision, Karen said: “I have had a wonderful experience working for Neath Port Talbot Council. It really is an organisation that is committed to serving its communities to the best of its ability and where officers and councillors continually seek to make a difference for local residents. I have been fortunate to work in a variety of different roles across the council and it has been an absolute privilege to serve as chief executive since 2020.

“The council is stable, provides good quality services and has a strong officer and councillor team ready to meet the challenges that will undoubtedly continue to face all public services. We have also created a once in a generation opportunity to transform our local economy through our successful Freeport bid. As I move on to other things, I am sure my successor will bring fresh energy to take the council forward into a new phase.”

Council leader, Cllr Steve Hunt, said: “I would like to place on record my thanks to Karen for the contribution she has made to the council and out communities over such a long period and for being such a strong advocate for Neath Port Talbot.

“The purpose and vision with which she has led the organisation over the past few years have helped the council to both respond to unprecedented challenges and achieve some hugely ambitious goals.

“Karen is respected across Wales as an inspiring, innovative, and driven chief executive and will leave the council in a strong position for her successor.

“I wish Karen all the very best as she prepares to spend more time with her family. We will miss her when she leaves towards the end of the year. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to continuing to work with Karen to progress our priorities.”