Stella Layton, chief executive officer & assay master, Assay Office Birmingham (Anchorcert).

The Birmingham Assay Office has begun its search for a new chief executive officer after announcing yesterday that Stella Layton is stepping down from her position.

The Assay office said it expects to unveil a permanent successor in early 2017, but has appointed Doug Henry as joint chief executive officer to work alongside Layton until her replacement is found. It is not clear if Mr Henry is in the running for the role full time.

Layton, meanwhile, will support the Office’s continuing projects on an ad hoc basis following her departure, in order to ensure continuity.


Layton will step down from her role as CEO and assay master in March. During her time in these positions, and as the UK’s very first female assay master, Layton has successfully delivered and overseen a number of key projects including the move from the Assay Office’s outdated premises that it had occupied since 1878 to a purpose-built premises overlooking Icknield Street at the gateway to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

She has also steered the development of a further sub-office initiative for the Assay Office, which opened earlier this year in Mumbai, and has, in addition, implemented a change management programme to improve process efficiency and productivity across the whole business.

Kate Hartigan, chairman of Assay Office Birmingham, said that during her three years in the post, Layton had been a committed, dynamic and extremely capable leader, guiding the Office through a period of significant change.

“Stella has provided strong and decisive leadership at a critical time in the development of the Assay Office. Our staff have responded whole-heartedly to the changes, inspired by her leadership, and as a result we have a committed, flexible and confident work-force,” comments Mrs Hartigan.

“I know that Stella will be missed by colleagues and customers alike, but to ensure ongoing continuity for our business we are pleased that between now and her leaving date she will be working in tandem with Doug Henry who has a thorough understanding of the organisation and has been closely involved with the key projects that are taking us forward.”

As an experienced managing director, Doug Henry has been responsible for the project management of several of the Office’s key projects during the past two years and has a clear understanding of his requirements as joint CEO.