‘Dedicated public servant’ wins £204,000 a year top job at Combined Authority 

Eileen Milner, chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Eileen Milner, chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, has beaten off 32 challenges to land the £204,000 a year chief executive role at the Combined Authority. - Credit: CAPCA

A civil servant from Cambridgeshire has landed the top job as the £204,000 chief executive of the Combined Authority. 

Eileen Milner is currently chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), part of the Department for Education. 

She has lived in South Cambridgeshire for more than 20 years, is married and has one daughter. She grew up in Cornwall and went to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. 

The Combined Authority says the salary of £203,923 a year is a figure “benchmarked against other roles of similar responsibility”. 

Ms Milner was at one stage executive director of the Care Quality Commission, the regulator of health and adult social care in England.  


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She will take up her post in the autumn.  

In the meantime, joint chief executives Kim Sawyer and John Hill continue in their roles. 

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Ms Milner said: “The area covered by the Combined Authority is an extraordinary one. 

“It is rich in history, talent, innovation and opportunity. 

“I am excited to join an organisation that has such an important remit in respect of making our area the very best place to live, work, invest and learn.” 

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson, said: “I think that the fact we have been able to appoint such an outstanding, experienced individual as Eileen owes a lot to the cooperative approach taken.” 

“I’m really looking forward to working with Eileen and I’m very excited to welcome all of her experience and talent into the organisation.  

“She is a dedicated and determined public servant.” 

Dr Johnson said tribute to the interim joint chief executives who “have been, and continue to be, a fantastic support to me since becoming mayor. 

“They have steered a growing and rapidly evolving organisation as big projects have moved from concept to delivery.  

“It has been no small challenge and they have done a great job”. 

There were 33 applications for the role following an executive search by recruiters Penna. 

This was narrowed down to candidates being presented to the Combined Authority’s employment committee from a long-list of seven. 

Ms Milner’s appointment was unanimous. 

The Combined Authority says the salary was set with the aim of “balancing value for money with the ability to attract talented candidates”. 






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