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New Chief Fire Officer appointed at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Image by - Andrew Wheeler

FOLLOWING a rigorous recruitment process, the Commissioners for South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority are pleased to announce the appointment of Air Vice-Marshal Fin Monahan OBE DFC PhD as the new Chief Fire Officer.

Commissioner Carl Foulkes, chair of the appointment panel, said: “Throughout this recruitment process, the Commissioners were acutely aware of the importance of finding an exceptional leader to guide the Service through the cultural and organisational changes it faces.

“The Morris Review published in January called on the Service to broaden its approach to recruitment for senior level posts, which is why we extended the search outside the fire and rescue sector.

“We worked with executive search advisors, GatenbySanderson, and were pleased that we received applications from a diverse group of people from across the UK, both from within the fire and rescue sector and the wider public sector.

“All five short-listed candidates demonstrated excellent skills and experience that met our demanding person specification, and a commitment to creating the right environment for our people, the Service, and the communities we serve.

“At the end of five days of exercises, panels, and interviews, Fin Monahan stood out as the best and right person for the role, and we are delighted that he has accepted the invitation the join and lead the Service.

“On behalf of the Commissioners, I want to thank everyone – colleagues, unions, and external stakeholders – for the commitment and energy they put into making this recruitment process thorough, open, and fair.”

Image by – Andrew Wheeler

Air Vice-Marshal Fin Monahan (pictured) joins SWFRS from a distinguished and decorated career as a fast jet pilot and senior leader in the Royal Air Force and MOD. He has completed many operational tours overseas, as well as being stationed in the UK. While based in Yorkshire, he led the RAF’s support to civilian authorities for the North of England, Southern Scotland and the Isle of Man including maintaining a 24/7 rapid response team and Mountain Rescue coverage.

While not a firefighter, he previously had a fire station under his command and, in preparation for deployment on aircraft carrier operations, he underwent basic firefighting and breathing apparatus training. He is currently the Director of ‘Defence Futures’, the MOD’s think tank at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham.

He holds Masters degrees from both University of Nottingham and University of Madras, and was awarded a Doctorate PhD on Organisational Culture from University of Birmingham in 2018. He is a published writer and has extensively researched culture and how to instil courage, morale, respect, and cohesion in uniformed organisations.

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Commenting on his successful appointment, Air Vice-Marshal Fin Monahan said: “I am honoured to be entrusted with this important role, and I’m grateful to the staff, unions, stakeholders, and Commissioners for their confidence in me.

“I look forward to joining the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service team. I would like every staff member, regardless of their role or location, to feel proud of their work, and to join me and the leadership team to rebuild the Service into an organisation where everyone feels welcome, supported, and safe. That will help us build the cohesion and mutual support needed to fulfil our mission of keeping the 1.5 million citizens of South Wales safe.”

Air Vice-Marshal Monahan will take up the role of Chief Fire Officer once all the necessary background and security checks have been completed. In the meantime, Stuart Millington has agreed to continue as interim Chief Fire Officer to ensure a smooth handover process with Air Vice-Marshal Monahan.

The Commissioners and Air Vice-Marshal Monahan will be in close contact and begin the process of appointing a permanent Executive Leadership Team.