New Chief Executive Appointed for Wimbledon & Putney Commons

Simon Lee in succession to Gordon Vincent who retires in March 2014

Mr Lee will take up the appointment on 1 March and comes to Wimbledon after twelve years managing some of London's most popular open spaces as Superintendent of Hampstead Heath. He was recruited following the national advertising of the post and a rigorous selection process including interviews with a shortlist of potential candidates.

Educated principally at Writtle Agricultural College near Colchester, Simon Lee has spent the last 30 years involved in managing public open spaces. This included 11 years in Cheltenham "The Garden Town of England" before moving to the City of London Corporation to manage Hampstead Heath, one of London's most popular open spaces and a registered charity.

The Chairman, David Devons, said: "We are hugely grateful to Gordon Vincent for the commitment he has shown to the management of the Commons over the last decade as a result of which they are now in a much more sustainable position than they were. He has provided very effective leadership of the excellent team responsible for managing this special area of South West London and he will leave in March with our thanks and best wishes for the future.

He continued: "We are delighted to welcome Simon Lee who will bring a wealth of experience in public open space management where consultation and community engagement have been at the heart of his approach. His proven strategic leadership and management skills will serve the Commons well
at a time when they are under increasing pressure from different users whose needs must be accommodated in a way that is consistent with the principles of the 1871 Act which created this unique environment. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Wimbledon next spring."

On accepting the appointment as Chief Executive, Simon Lee said: "I look forward to moving to south London in March 2014 with my wife and family and relish the challenges and opportunities that the management of these 1140 acres of public commons present. In the spirit of Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell who wrote Scouting for Boys at Mill House, I hope to leave these Commons in an even better condition than I find them. Working with the Conservators, existing staff and the local community, my aspiration is to continue to ensure the Commons ‘natural’ character and rare sense of ‘rural-ness’ continue to be available for future generations to enjoy."

October 9, 2013