St Albans Council Chief leaves to lead Youth Hostels Association

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News release: 10 April 2017

James Blake, the Chief Executive of St Albans City and District Council, is to start a new job this July as Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales).

James Blake
James, who lives in St Albans, said: "I'm immensely proud of what the Council is achieving in the District in what has been the most demanding financial period ever for local government. It has been a huge privilege to be the Council’s Chief Executive over the last four and a half years, working with councillors, partners and a fine staff team. So, while I am excited about the future, I will be very sorry to leave.
“However, as someone with a lifelong interest and involvement with YHA, including a spell of 12 years on their Board of Trustees, this is an opportunity too good to turn down.”
YHA is a leading national charity with 169,000 members, 1,000+ staff, and an annual turnover of £47.3m. Its mission is to inspire all, especially young people, to broaden their horizons and gain knowledge and independence through new experiences of adventure and discovery.
It runs a network of around 160 youth hostels providing good value accommodation in diverse locations across England and Wales. Last year, YHA hosted over 1.8m overnight stays. The organisation has strong roots in St Albans, where it was founded in the 1930s, and its Head Office was based in the City until 15 years ago.
James will take up his new post this July.
Cllr Julian Daly, Leader of the Council said: “This is a great opportunity for James. I’d like to thank him for all his hard work and commitment as Chief Executive over the last few years. I know many people will be sorry to see him go. James will be with us for a few months yet so we can ensure a smooth transition.”
Councillor contact:
Councillor Julian Daly, Leader of St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01582 715645, 07775 657200; Email:
Contact for the media:
Claire Wainwright, Executive and Communications Manager, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, Email: 
Notes for editors:
The next step for the Council will be to convene a meeting of its Employment Procedures Committee. One of the responsibilities of this Committee is to consider senior recruitment and to make recommendations to Full Council. 
More information about YHA (England and Wales) can be found at: