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John Vander Luit

Editor, Solicitors Journal

LeO looks for new chief executive

LeO looks for new chief executive


Outgoing CEO proud of achievements and ready to take on new challenges

The Legal Ombudsman has begun the search for a new chief executive after Nick Hawkins confirmed he will step down after nearly two years in the role.

Hawkins told the board of the Office of Legal Complaints (OLC) in March of his plans to leave once he had helped new OLC chair Wanda Goldwag settle into her role.

'Working for an important, independent service like the Legal Ombudsman has been a particularly rewarding experience,' said Hawkins. 'I decided at the beginning of the year that I was ready to take on new challenges and opportunities, but leave behind a team and respected public sector body that I can proud of.'

Commenting on the departure, Goldwag said: 'Nick has been a great asset and stabilising influence to the Legal Ombudsman since he joined in October 2015 and I hold him in high regard. I personally am very sad that I will not be working with Nick for longer, but I am grateful that he stayed long enough to make my arrival as chair so smooth.'

Hawkins, a qualified barrister and former chief prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, joined the ombudsman from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where he was chief operating officer.

He arrived at a time when the senior management roles were being restructured following the departure of Adam Sampson a year earlier. Sampson's dual role of chief executive and chief ombudsman was split and new positions were also created in policy, research, and IT.

As well as overseeing improvements in IT provision, LeO said Hawkins had helped to tighten up governance and financial controls and led a change in attitudes to recruitment, ensuring that the organisation always looks for internal talent first.

The search has now begun to find Hawkins' successor ahead of his final day on 30 September.

Matthew Rogers is a reporter at Solicitors Journal | @lex_progress