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Suffolk Libraries announces new chief executive

Suffolk Libraries is pleased to announce that Bruce Leeke will be the organisation’s new chief executive, taking over from Alison Wheeler in early 2018.

Alison announced she was planning to retire in July and we have since been working to recruit a replacement.

Bruce Leeke has recently been working as Regional Director for St John Ambulance and will take over as our CEO in late January 2018.

Bruce said: “I am delighted to be joining Suffolk Libraries at such an exciting time. The exceptional work of Alison Wheeler, the staff team, community groups and Board has led to the delivery of an outstanding library service across Suffolk over the past five years, at a very challenging time.

“I look forward to maintaining the high-quality service already in place and developing exciting new ways of engaging with existing and new customers. I am particularly keen to look at any innovative opportunities or partnerships that can add value to people’s experience and ultimately further increase the profile and impact of the county’s library service.”

Tony Brown, chair of Suffolk Libraries Board said: “I am delighted that we will be welcoming Bruce to Suffolk Libraries next year and am confident we have found someone with the vision, experience and drive to lead the organisation in the years to come.

"His experience in leading the regional activities of a very community-focused organisation in St John Ambulance will be particularly relevant to Suffolk Libraries. I’d also like to pay special tribute to Alison who has contributed so much to the success of Suffolk Libraries over the past five years and to the county’s library service over many years.”

Alison added: “It’s been an honour to serve Suffolk’s library customers for nearly 40 years and I am confident there is a bright future ahead for Suffolk Libraries under Bruce’s leadership.”

Alison has been CEO at Suffolk Libraries since the library service was transferred from the county council in 2012. She will be retiring in February and has lived and worked in Suffolk for over 38 years.

Bruce spent the early part of his career in the commercial conference sector for large publishing companies, before moving into the charity sector. He worked for the Institute of Fundraising where he was director of events, before becoming chief operating officer and then interim CEO.

He has been regional director for St John Ambulance for the past five years, with responsibility for the charity’s activities in East Anglia and then a larger area covering 12 counties in Eastern Britain. At St John Ambulance his remit covered the work of 7,000 volunteers and first aid cover at 6,500 events a year.