The Lib Dems have a new Chief Executive

Mike Dixon, currently Chief Executive of Addaction, a mental health, drug, alcohol and young persons charity, has been appointed Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats. He will start his new role next Monday, 21st October.

He was previously Assistant Chief Executive at Citizens’ Advice.

Mike said:

I’m delighted to take on this role. We’ve just had our best ever European election results and new members are joining all the time, taking us to record levels of membership. Millions of people want the country to stop Brexit and focus on things like the climate emergency, investing in schools and people’s mental health.

I’m looking forward to getting started next week. We’ve got a great team, inspirational political leadership and a thriving, inclusive party. If you want change, join us today.

Sal Brinton added:

I am delighted Mike Dixon will be taking on this crucial role at such an exciting time for the Liberal Democrats.

Mike’s experience in senior management and at leading organisations will be hugely valuable to the continuing growth of the party off the back of successive election campaigns which have put the Liberal Democrats back in a strong position in UK politics.

And Jo had her words of welcome:

I am delighted to welcome Mike Dixon as the new Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats.

Mike’s experience at campaigning organisations will help to build on the tremendous successes the Liberal Democrats have had in the local and European elections.

The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and I look forward to working with Mike so we can continue to grow the party and stop Brexit.

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20 Comments

  • Our Chief executives tend to be in the background as far as ordinary members are concerned. I hop Mike will engage with us about how we want to see our party’s organisation improve. Compared with other parties, we have a small team and limited finances, so I wish him well in the task of building a resourceful organisation as we look forward to continuing growth.

  • David Evans 15th Oct '19 - 7:25am

    I too wish Mike well, but I hope he has some real experience of UK party politics and not just the politics of nice people like charities and the third sector. The difference between the two is huge and we can’t afford for a new guy make the same mistakes as were made during coalition.

    Having said that, we don’t need a Chief Exec who believes that one of his main responsibilities is to spend his time finding ways to protect the party leader from the consequences of his actions, by promoting dodgy polls that misled people into believing that things would be even worse if things were changed. We didn’t change and the party is where it is as a consequence – resurgent membership, but having lost a massive proportion of its infrastructure and political representation, which leaves us in a much weaker position than we need to be at this time of national crisis.

  • Richard Underhill. 15th Oct '19 - 2:19pm

    15th Oct ’19 – 1:32pm
    What is his attitude to the Labour party under its current leadership?
    What is his attitude to the Conservative party under its current leadership?

  • Kate Harvey 15th Oct '19 - 2:37pm

    Michael Meadowcroft – Mr Dixon was a special adviser to the Labour government and also worked in Downing Street. They have decided to appoint someone who knows very little about our party and how it works and just before a general election too!!!!

  • Agree with Michael Meadowcroft.

    There ought to be more to this party than the one trick pony single issue of Remain…. although I suppose given Mr Dixon’s experience at the CAB we might just get the occasional mention of the awfulness of the 2013 welfare system, and growing poverty and inequality in the UK.

  • David Becket 15th Oct '19 - 5:15pm

    Not happy. Members are not given enough information. Treated like mushrooms. Not good enough Jo and Sal.

  • His CV is impressive, But it is certainly a concern that he was a Labour SPAD from 2006-9. https://uk.linkedin.com/in/mike-dixon-6252b138
    Has he perhaps joined the party in the interim? If he has, that’s OK, but I would like to know. I’m sure some people will accuse me of being tribal but I do think our CEO should be a Liberal Democrat. It’s not a lot to ask. Historical examples of people brought in from outside are not encouraging.

  • Cllr Fran Oborski MB 15th Oct '19 - 6:52pm

    He appears to be a LibDem Member but Id like to know for how long and in which Constituency as I would then like to hear from activists in that Constituency as to how much actual on the ground LibDem experience he has!
    My concerns are similar to those of Michael Meadowcroft.

  • David Evans 15th Oct '19 - 7:36pm

    TonyH – It’s not tribal to expect senior appointments to be long standing Lib Dems with real knowledge of how the UK political system grinds small parties down and real experience showing they know how to overcome that problem. As you say ‘Historical examples of people brought in from outside are not encouraging.’ Let’s be honest – Ryan didn’t have any experience of UK politics, but he did have a great CV. It seemed to be basically “That’s a great idea Nick.” We are still paying the price for an over-centralized bureaucracy.

    When we refer to Mike’s experience at campaigning organisations, it makes me wonder how many organisations he has been involved in where its competitors actively and successfully denigrate and try to destroy the organisation he leads. My guess is none, and that we didn’t ask the question.

    I wish him well, but all in all, it does not bode well.

  • Paul Barker 15th Oct '19 - 8:14pm

    While I understand some of the concerns expressed in this thread I disagree about the threats facing us. Right now, it seems to be that our biggest problem is “Business as Usual.”
    We are facing unprecedented dangers & opportunities & we need to behave as though we were New to Politics because the present Politics Is New. We are going to have to take enormous risks in the coming Election, there is no Safe way for us to go.
    I really wonder how much use our traditional knowledge & methods will be in the next few Months.

  • David Evans – “Ryan didn’t have any experience of UK politics.” I was actually thinking about one E. Pamplin, but maybe that’s ancient history now.
    On another issue, I can’t help wondering if the party should have waited a few weeks and let the new President lead on this appointment. I realise we are in a frenzied political moment right now and there could be a GE or referendum, but presumably we have an interim CEO who could have done the job through those? I just think the relationship between CEO and President is so hugely important, it might’ve been good to let the incoming President make the choice rather than the outgoing one. But, as I say, I also understand that these are unprecedented times so I understand why it was decided otherwise.

  • There is always a true believer or two who tell us it’s all different now and the ways that succeeded in the past need to be dumped. Of course what we find is that when we moved away from them, it was followed by the most catastrophic fall of any party ever.

    However true believers know what really went wrong – it wasn’t their fault; what we need is to ignore the lessons of history because now “We are facing unprecedented dangers & opportunities & we need to behave as though we were New to Politics.”
    Ah yes, the old nostrum – he’s the best man for the job because he doesn’t know what is impossible!

    Likewise there is a need to deliberately put words in the mouths of those who express clearly argued concerns in order to disparage and undermine them. Let’s be clear Tim – No one mentioned the word leaflet in this thread until you did.

    Please tell us why you chose to do so.

  • Paul Holmes 16th Oct '19 - 4:35pm

    I have never understood the predeliction for some to use derogatory terms like ‘leaflet grunts’ or to urge that new members not be asked to deliver leaflets when they might want to ‘sit on bodies that take decisions’ or to ‘make policy’ to quote two fairly recent comments on LDV.

    I have done my fair share of the latter in the past as an MP, Cllr, Chairman of the Parliamentary Party, Regional and Constituency Exec member, Campaign Organiser etc etc. But I always go out and deliver leaflets -as I was yesterday afternoon. Apart from being good exercise there is the simple truth that Liberal Democrats who don’t get their literature delivered are Liberal Democrats who don’t win elections.

    Any [self] important person in a ‘decision taking position’ in the Lib Dems who doesn’t understand that is a danger to our electoral prospects.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Oct '19 - 7:52pm

    Should there be a confirmatory referendum of party members? (since OMOV).

  • Nonconformistradical 16th Oct '19 - 9:40pm

    @Richard Underhill
    “Should there be a confirmatory referendum of party members? (since OMOV).”

    Why ever do you want to spend time and money on such a referendum? We delegate authority to the Federal Board to appoint the Chief Exec and we’ve got much better things to do on which to spend the money!

  • Richard Underhill 17th Oct '19 - 12:32pm

    Mostly this could be done electronically, which is cheaper than using the post. Such votes are usually accompanied by fundraising. The point is also about the timing.
    “the party should have waited a few weeks and let the new President lead on this appointment”

  • David Evans 17th Oct '19 - 8:58pm

    Indeed Tim your point ‘that a successful Chief Executive needs to be appointed based on their capabilities and strategic thinking,’ is absolutely valid. Our point is that a long standing Lib Dem also knows and understands how things affect and work in the Lib Dems, because they have seen it happen around them and stopped it from destroying them – They have lived it; an outsider can only quote theory. I believe our point enhances yours by taking it from being simply a generic, management theory point that would apply to every applicant for any Chief Exec post, to a Lib Dem specific one.

    Regarding your question ‘Why is “leaflet grunt” seen as an insult?’ I suggest you consider how you might react to someone calling a private in the army a grunt or whether you would call anyone who doesn’t know you personally very well, and who does loads of basic work for an organisation for free a grunt. It just isn’t nice.

    Finally, as I asked before “No one mentioned the word leaflet in this thread until you did” – when you raised the red herring ‘The idea that we have to have a Chief Executive who’s been a leaflet grunt since s/he was born,’ please tell us why you chose to do so.

    Was it to undermine others’ arguments by putting words in their mouths? I hope not.

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