Deborah will play a key role in turning the region’s devolution deal with central government into reality, including working with Andy Street who was elected as the first West Midlands Mayor in May this year.

She was born in Birmingham and earned a degree in social administration and politics and a Masters degrees in urban and regional economics and management from the University of Birmingham. Deborah was awarded an OBE for services to local government in 2006.

She will be leaving her role as the CEO of Suffolk County Council where she has been since 2011. During her time there she has overseen a dramatic improvement in education attainment levels in Suffolk, improved staff morale and led the careful implementation of over £200 million of savings made necessary by reductions in funding from government.

She said: “I am delighted to have been offered the post of Chief Executive at the WMCA. This is such a fabulous moment in time for the West Midlands and is an irresistible opportunity to work alongside our newly elected Mayor and bring greater prosperity to the place where I grew up.

“I will find it incredibly hard to say goodbye to Suffolk though. It’s a wonderful place, with fantastic people. The politicians, staff and partners I have worked with in the last six years have shown me the extraordinary level of talent and commitment we have right here in the county.

“Naturally, there is still more hard work ahead for Suffolk County Council, but the team is in good shape and ready for that challenge.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “After a robust recruitment process I am thrilled that Deborah has agreed to join the WMCA as our chief executive.  I was keen that we considered only the very best candidates for this important post and Deborah was the strongest candidate in an excellent field.

“She will bring a great energy to the role as well as a natural enthusiasm for the region.  She also has a strong track record in developing and maintaining relationships with a range of partners and stakeholders.  This will be essential as we keep momentum going with central government to bring further powers and responsibilities from Westminster to the West Midlands.”