Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein has announced his retirement.
Sir Howard, who has been chief executive of the council since 1998, will step down from his role in spring 2017.
As chief executive of the council, he has overseen a radical overhaul of the city, starting with the transformation of the city centre in the aftermath of the 1996 IRA bombing.
He also oversaw the creation of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in 2011, and contributed to the city’s new devolution deal, announced by former chancellor George Osborne in November 2014.
Sir Howard was knighted for services to the city in 2003.
He said there was “still considerable work to do in the months ahead”, adding that his focus on the city “will not be diminished”.
Read the interview:
CN speaks to Sir Howard Bernstein about how the city has been transformed and its future
“It has been a privilege to serve the city during such a pivotal period, working with many excellent people both within the council and in public and private partner organisations,” he said.
“We have a clear, shared vision for the future direction of the city – set out in the Our Manchester Strategy which takes the city up to 2025 – and a strong platform from which to move forwards.
“But by definition this is a long-term strategy. I will have been at the council 46 years next year and this feels like the right time to plan for my succession.”
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said Sir Howard would be “a hard act to follow”.
“Our new chief executive will need to be someone with the strategic vision, innovative ideas, partnership working skills and gravitas to help lead Manchester forwards into an exciting new phase.”
The council added that a special meeting of its personnel committee will be convened to begin the process of recruiting the next chief executive.
Manchester will go the polls to pick its first elected mayor in May 2017, with Andy Burnham picked as Labour’s candidate for the role last month.