Waverley and Guildford councils will have had three joint chief executives in as many months come April, with the confirmation of a new temporary chief this week.

Long-time Waverley employee Annie Righton has been appointed as chief executive and head of paid service for Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council for an interim period.

The two councils have shared many management and back-office roles since 2021, and are currently exploring plans for a joint headquarters.

Ms Righton's appointment was recommended by the councils’ joint appointments committee and confirmed by both councils at extraordinary council meetings this week.

An interim appointment is necessary because the outgoing joint chief executive (CEO), Tom Horwood, steps down on February 9. The new joint chief executive for both councils, Pedro Wrobel, will take up his role on April 8.

The head of paid service is a statutory role, so by law there must be a named officer in that role at all times. Annie Righton will be interim CEO between February 9 and April 8.

Annie Righton was appointed as joint strategic director for community wellbeing when the joint management team for Guildford and Waverley was created in 2022. Before that she had been a strategic director at Waverley since 2018.

Waverley Borough Council leader, Cllr Paul Follows, said: "Annie is an experienced director who has the respect of colleagues in Guildford and Waverley councils. She will be a safe pair of hands during this period of transition.

"It has been my great pleasure to work with Tom Horwood over the last five years. His incredible experience and his passion for delivering excellent public services have been instrumental in driving both councils forward. I’m sure I speak for the leadership of both councils when I say that he will be greatly missed."

Guildford Borough Council, Cllr Julia McShane, added: "I'm so pleased that Annie Righton has decided to take up this important interim role of CEO and I look forward to continuing to work with her.

 "I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Tom Horwood for his strong commitment to public service and his hard work for both Guildford and Waverley councils. I wish him all the best for the future."