Craig Hatton has been named as North Ayrshire Council’s new Chief Executive.

Mr Hatton will take over the top job from Elma Murray OBE who announced last month she was retiring.

The appointment was made following a meeting of the Staffing and Recruitment Committee today (Thursday, September 27).

Mr Hatton has played a key role in the authority since joining North Ayrshire Council nine years ago.

He is currently the Executive Director of Place, which covers services such as Housing, Roads, Building Services and Streetscene.

Ms Murray had agreed to remain in post until a new successor was appointed and it is expected that the handover will happen within the coming weeks.

Mr Hatton said: “First and foremost, I want to pay tribute to Elma and the amazing transformational work she has delivered during her time as Chief Executive, culminating in us winning APSE’s Council of the Year last year.

“I very much hope to maintain that record and look forward to continuing our journey towards improving people’s lives right across North Ayrshire.”

A building surveyor by profession, Mr Hatton has managed a wide range of local government services.

Ms Murray said: “I want to pass on my best wishes to Craig and I’m sure he will do a fantastic job at the helm of North Ayrshire Council.

“We have many challenges to face but it’s a real privilege to serve one of the best parts of Scotland so I’m sure it’s a challenge Craig will relish.

“Once again, I would like to thank all staff, partners and residents for making my time as Chief Executive so enjoyable and I know you will be in safe hands with Craig.”

Council Leader Joe Cullinane said: “I would like to congratulate Craig on being appointed as Chief Executive.

“I’ve worked closely with him since becoming Council Leader and know how committed he is to delivering the best possible services to the people of North Ayrshire.

“Craig brings strong leadership, enthusiasm and a wealth of experience to the role – all of which will be crucial as we explore new directions and fresh perspectives during what is a crucial time for local government in Scotland.”

Irvine West Conservative Cllr Scott Gallacher said: “I am delighted for Craig Hatton, and I am sure he will serve the role in an exemplary fashion.

“Over the past 18 months I have always found him to be very accommodating and helpful. He will bring in a much needed fresh approach to NAC, and I wish him all the best in his new position”.