The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) chief executive Antony Townsend has announced today that he will be stepping down later in the year.
The SRA confirmed that Townsend’s successor has not been appointed and that the selection process to find his successor has not yet begun.
In a statement Townsend said: “I’ve headed up the SRA from its inception. The pace of change has been relentless; the challenges have been formidable. The SRA now has a firm basis upon which to develop and mature its new approach to regulation. I’ve concluded that after seven years it is a good time for me to move on, so I’ll leave once my successor has been appointed.”
SRA chair Charles Plant said Townsend had inherited a regulatory organisation and regime “in serious need of reform”.
“Much has been achieved by the SRA under Antony’s leadership over the past seven years,” added Plant. “The SRA’s transformation process must continue with particular emphasis on operational delivery now that the new regulatory framework is substantially in place. The next stage in the SRA’s development will be equally demanding over a further protracted period of time, and Antony and I have agreed that now is an appropriate time to effect a change.”
Townsend took up his post as SRA chief executive in 2006, having also been chief executive at the General Dental Council (GDC) from 2001.
While at the GDC Townsend led a major reform programme to modernise dental regulation involving legislative, structural and operational change and including the extension of regulation to new groups of dental professionals.
Before this, he held a number of senior roles at the General Medical Council, including director of standards and education, and head of conduct.
In a statement Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff wished Townsend well, adding: “He can take credit for many developments at the SRA and never wavered from his robust commitment to establishing it as a public interest regulator.”