THE interim chief executive of Worcestershire County Council Stephen Stewart has died, it has been announced.

A statement from Worcestershire County Council said the 64-year-old, who was appointed to the role in May last year, passed away overnight. His family has been informed.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, deputy leader of the council said: "This is very sad news.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time. Steve made a big contribution to this council during his time with us and for that we are really grateful.

"He will be sadly missed by everyone."

The Worcester News last year reported on how Mr Stewart won over County Hall's appointments panel because of his track record for children's services.

During his time running Northumberland County Council they were one of the few in the UK to earn an 'outstanding' grading from Ofsted for child protection.

Mr Stewart also led the creation of Northumberland's top-tier council by merging together seven pre-existing authorities in a huge shake-up back in 2009.

He also held top roles at councils in Wakefield and Leeds, Sunderland and York.