A new chief executive has been officially confirmed to take the reins at the largest district council in the country by population.

Chris Bally, who was born in Suffolk and lives in Felixstowe, is set to succeed Stephen Baker as East Suffolk Council's chief executive after his appointment was confirmed at an extraordinary meeting of the full council last week.

Mr Bally is currently the director for corporate services and deputy chief executive at Suffolk County Council.

He has worked for almost 30 years in public services, including 13 years of experience at a senior level within the county council. He previously worked for Tendring District Council, in Essex, and the Audit Commission.

His appointment was unanimously approved by councillors.

Mr Bally said: "I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as chief executive.

"I'm Suffolk born and bred and, for me, this is a dream job.

"The ability to lead a council on your home patch is very special and I think anybody would love to do it.

"I'm really excited and ready to get going, and I'm honoured to be following Stephen Baker.

"We've known each other for many years and I wish him all the best."

Lowestoft Journal: Stephen BakerStephen Baker (Image: Archant)

Mr Baker is set to retire later this year after 17 years at the helm of East Suffolk and its predecessor councils, with a handover to Mr Bally due to take place in the coming months.

Mr Bally's appointment comes after a "thorough and rigorous recruitment process".

He was the unanimous choice of the interview panel, according to a council spokesman in October - ahead of the council ratification. 

Councillor Keith Robinson said: "I've worked with Chris at Suffolk County Council for a few years now and I've always found him to be very personable, very competent and very much on top of his brief.

"I think we'd be making a great gain."

Councillor Tony Goldson added Mr Bally was a "very honourable man", while deputy council leader Craig Rivett said he would be a "tremendous fit" for the council.

East Suffolk is the biggest district council in the country by population, representing 250,000 people across an area covering 487 square miles.