Council pays tribute to first chief executive

Council pays tribute to first chief executive

by Henry James (February 2020)

WEST Lancashire Borough Council has paid tribute to its first Chief Executive, John Cowdall, who has died.

John led the newly-created authority known then as West Lancashire District Council from April 1 1974 and served for 16 years at the authority.

He worked hard with colleagues to attract new businesses and investment and was at the helm for taking control of the Skelmersdale New Town housing built by Skelmersdale Development Corporation.

After retiring from West Lancashire Mr Cowdall took on many other prominent roles in the community. He served as chair of the board of governors at Stonyhurst College and Cardinal Newman Sixth Form College as well as being chair of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust for a while. He was also a trustee of the Archdiocese of Liverpool and a member of the board of regents at Liverpool Hope University, two roles which led to him being made a Papal Knight of the Order of St Gregory.

Bill Taylor, who was West Lancs Council chief executive between 1997 and 2011, said: "John was the architect of so much that is good about West Lancs, constantly trying to attract in new investment and job opportunities. Most of all John will be remembered at West Lancs as an all-round good guy. The staff and councillors loved John and talked about him fondly years after he left."

Deputy Mayor of West Lancashire Councillor Terry Aldridge, said: "John was very helpful with new councillors and when I was first elected he invited all the new councillors in for a cup of tea to introduce us to staff. He was a very fair-minded man and a great public servant."

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