The new chief executive of Gravesham Council has been appointed.
Stuart Bobby will take over the top job for Gravesend and the surrounding areas from April 1 having previously served as the authority's director of corporate services.
It follows the retirement of current council boss David Hughes who will be stepping down after nine years in the role.
The pair will work in tandem until the end of March to ensure a smooth handover.
Born in Gravesend Hospital, Stuart attended Raynehurst Junior School before moving on to Thamesview School and later Gravesend Grammar School for Boys.
He joined the council as trainee accountant in October 2001 after graduating from the University of Greenwich.
In his role as director of corporate services Stuart was closely involved in the long term financial planning for the authority.
Key projects timetabled under his watch include Reef's £15m transformation of the St George's Shopping Centre in Gravesend.
As part of its plans a 'leisure quarter', consisting of four restaurants and a cinema, will be built fronting the area surrounding St George's Church, known as the Western Quarter.
A public consultation with revised artists impressions is scheduled for the proposals shortly.
The new boss said Gravesham had "suffered through austerity" but he would look to use the financial capacity it had generated from "prudent financial decisions" to meet the demands of residents.
He praised outgoing council chief Mr Hughes who he said had done an exemplary job in "navigating Gravesham Council through nationally difficult financial times to the strong position it is in now".
“My aim is to build on those firm foundations," he added.
'My aim is to build on those firm foundations, listen to what local people are telling us they want to see, and make Gravesham somewhere everyone is as proud to call home as I am.' Gravesham Council chief executive Stuart Bobby
The newly appointed chief executive says he wants to make Gravesham somewhere everyone is as "proud to call home as I am".
A keen cyclist and Ebbsfleet United support, Mr Bobby said: “Gravesham is and has always been the place I call home. I am looking forward to delivering the services and environment that local people expect from the council.
“Working with politicians and officers, I will make sure we respond positively to the strong messages we received from local people during the consultation into our corporate Plan.
“The public and businesses asked us to commit resources into positive enforcement, cleanliness of the borough, horticultural maintenance, affordable housing and economic regeneration.”
Council leader John Burden (Lab) said Mr Bobby was the "outstanding candidate from a high quality shortlist".
He said: “His knowledge of the Borough, understanding of the ethos of the Council and vision for the future set him apart from the other candidates.
“I look forward to working with Stuart and delivering a Gravesham to be proud of over the coming years.”