Irene has had a wide and varied career spanning 38 years with involvement in local and national government and the private sector.
She has worked within and on behalf of 105 different councils including being Chief Executive Officer of two Metropolitan Authorities in the North East of England.
In 2008 Irene was appointed to the role of Director General of Local Government and Regeneration with the Department of Communities and Local Government with responsibility for Local Government and Regeneration and the national policy development of the then 363 councils across England. She spent the last months of her Central Government career as Permanent Secretary, crossing both Labour and Coalition administrations.
Irene was awarded a CBE for services to Local Government in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List.
In addition to her public sector career, Irene chairs the board of Hays Travel Group - the UK’s largest independent travel agency, which has its Head Office in Sunderland.
After working in an advisory capacity to the leadership of Sunderland City Council from early 2016, Irene was appointed its Chief Executive in April.
She is passionate about food, family and football, and her personal interests include travel!