A YORK-BASED schools trust has made a key management appointment.

Debbie Simpson has got a new job as chief operating officer at Ebor Academy Trust, which now has 24 schools across the city, Selby, the Yorkshire Coast and in the East Riding and the Humber.

Debbie, who describes herself as a "big picture" thinker and problem solver, was formerly chair of the Institute of Continuous Improvement in the Public Sector and interim chief operating officer of Greater Birmingham Enterprise Partnership. There she overcame numerous political challenges and identified and successfully tackled complex financial matters that challenged the accepted position.

She has previously been head of transformation and change with a shared service company, a senior civil servant with DEFRA and, as founding CEO of the Institute for Continuous Improvement in the Public Sector, was named as one of the top 25 most influential people in Europe.

She established and sold three travel-related multi-million pound businesses.

Richard Ludlow, Ebor's chief executive, who is now part-time as the beginning of a phased retirement, said: "I am delighted with this appointment.

"Debbie has built a career on blending experience with entrepreneurial spirit, foresight and inspirational leadership, successfully embracing increasingly complex roles.

"She is extremely well placed to help take the trust to the next stage in its evolution."

Debbie said: "I am thrilled to accept this challenge and look forward to working with Ebor’s talented and dedicated staff. Ebor Academy Trust is an exciting organisation that has come a long way in such a short period of time. The potential for Ebor and its family of schools is enormous."

The Press reported back in March that Mr Ludlow has been the chief executive of Ebor Academy Trust since its inception in 2013 and before that was the head teacher at Robert Wilkinson primary school in Strensall.

Ebor was set up in December 2013 and Mr Ludlow has always been the Trust's CEO but initially he combined it with being head teacher of Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy.

He had been head at the Strensall primary since 2004 and the new head, Sarah Wright, took over in 2016, when Mr Ludlow became CEO full time.

Ebor currently operates 24 schools, which in York includes Robert Wilkinson, Haxby Road, Hob Moor Community Primary Academy, Hob Moor Oaks, Lakeside Primary Academy, Park Grove Primary and Osbaldwick Primary.

It also has other schools in Selby, the East Riding and on the Yorkshire Coast. Two more schools joined the trust in July.