Published on 28/07/2023
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Deborah Cadman OBE
Professor Aleks Subic (Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Aston University) and Dr Deborah Cadman OBE
  • Deborah Cadman OBE has been recognised for her contribution to public service
  • Dr Cadman has nearly 40 years of experience in public service, serving as chief executive of local authorities 
  • She was awarded an OBE in 2006 and holds a degree in politics and a masters in economics and management practice.

Deborah Cadman OBE, chief executive of Birmingham City Council, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Aston University for her significant contribution to public service. 

The Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) was conferred on Friday 28 July at a graduation ceremony at Eastside Rooms in Birmingham.

Deborah has nearly 40 years of experience in public service and has served as the chief executive of local authorities for around 14 years, leading district, county and city councils. 

She was appointed as the first chief executive of West Midlands Combined Authority in 2017 and is currently a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a commissioner on the Social Integration Commission and a trustee on the Centre for Cities.

In recognition of her exceptional leadership skills and commitment to public service, Deborah was awarded an OBE for services to local government in 2006 and has been listed in Local Government Chronicle’s ‘100 Most Influential in the Sector’. She holds a degree in politics and a masters degree in economics and management practice.

On receiving the award, Dr Cadman said:

“It is an honour to be awarded a Doctorate in Business Administration and to be recognised for my contribution to public service and to the city of Birmingham. I am proud to be associated with Aston University and its commitments to diversity and academic excellence.”

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University, said:

“I am delighted to award an honorary doctorate to Deborah Cadman in recognition of her outstanding leadership and contributions to public service. 

“Deborah has demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout her professional career dedicated to public service, advocating, developing and maintaining the highest standards in providing services to the public, supporting communities and city regeneration and demonstrating commitment to equality and diversity. 

“Her career spanning almost four decades is an inspiration to our students and graduates who aspire to make a positive impact in their communities.”

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7446 910063 or email:

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