Chief Executive John Hooton to leave Barnet Council; Deputy Chief Executive Cath Shaw to take on role*


John Hooton

John Hooton

John Hooton has announced his departure after eight years as Chief Executive of Barnet Council and will leave towards the end of June.

Subject to the council’s governance processes, Deputy Chief Executive Cath Shaw will become Acting Chief Executive on John’s departure, pending permanent recruitment to the post.

In his time as Chief Executive, John has overseen the transformation of London’s second largest borough and many of the council’s services and has strengthened the council’s relationship with its partners and with the voluntary and community sector.

Over recent years, the council has moved from an inadequate to good rating in Children’s Services, become a leader in tackling climate change, successfully delivered some of London’s largest growth and regeneration programmes and overseen the recent insourcing of services from Capita, as well as the smooth transition to a Labour administration for the first time in the council’s history.

John said: “It’s been an incredible privilege to be Chief Executive of Barnet Council. Together with an amazing team of council officers, we have achieved a huge amount over that time.  

“I will really miss Barnet; it’s a great place with so many great people, but I am looking forward to taking a break! I know I leave the council in the safe hands of Cath Shaw. I’d also like to thank politicians from all parties who have supported me over the years.”

As Barnet’s former chief operating officer and s151 officer, John has also been instrumental in ensuring Barnet has remained financially stable throughout local government austerity, despite considerable financial challenges.

Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Barry Rawlings, said: “We are grateful to John for his years of sound stewardship of the organisation; not only for helping us to hit the ground running as a new administration but also for helping guide Barnet through the pandemic and managing the council through significant change over the last eight years while local government has had to do more with less resources. We will miss John’s calm and effective leadership as Chief Executive. He leaves a proud legacy, and we wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

The Leader of the Conservative Group on Barnet Council and former Leader of the Council, Cllr Daniel Thomas, said: “John has done a great job as Chief Executive, and has led Barnet through considerable change. He leaves the borough with my very best wishes and thanks for all he has helped us achieve on behalf of Barnet’s residents. It’s been a pleasure to work with him.”

John has been Chief Executive of Barnet Council since May 2016. He is also joint finance lead for the Chief Executives’ London Committee (CELC) and the chief executive lead for health partnerships within the North Central London Integrated Care System. Prior to this, he was Barnet’s chief operating officer, having joined the council in 2010 as deputy director of finance.

Subject to the approval of Full Council, Deputy Chief Executive Cath Shaw will become Acting Chief Executive on John’s departure, pending permanent recruitment to the post.

As Deputy Chief Executive, Cath has been responsible for leading the council’s extensive housing and growth programme, including the development of the new Brent Cross West station and the delivery of Brent Cross Town in partnership with Related Argent, as well as environmental services and major commercial relationships. 

Coming from a background in local government and at senior levels of the civil service, Cath joined Barnet in 2013, becoming Deputy Chief Executive in 2017.  She sits on London Councils’ Economy Board and chairs the West London Economy and Skills Directors Group. 


*  Subject to approval of Full Council.