Manchester City Council has announced that chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein will retire next year.
Sir Howard who joined the council as a junior clerk in 1971, has been in the top job since 1998.
The 63-year-old has played a central role in the regeneration and economic growth of the city, including serving from 1996-99 as the chief executive of Manchester Millennium Ltd which oversaw the transformation of the city centre in the aftermath of the 1996 IRA bombing.
Since then the city has experienced unprecedented growth and investment including flagship developments such as Spinningfields, NOMA, First Street, Corridor Manchester and forthcoming investments in St John’s, Airport City, the Northern Gateway and HS2.
He was also instrumental in securing Manchester’s hosting of the 2002 Commonwealth Games – then the largest multi-sports event ever hosted in the UK – and the catalyst to the regeneration of East Manchester and the unparalleled investment in sport and leisure facilities focused around the Etihad Campus.
Sir Howard, who was knighted in 2003 for his services to the city, said: “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.
“I’m incredibly proud of what the city has been able to achieve in this time and to have played a part in it.”
“Manchester is firmly established as a confident and dynamic place, recognised as a premier league world city although of course there are still significant challenges to address to ensure everyone who live here has the opportunity to share in, and contribute to, its growing success.
“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.
“There is still considerable work to do in the months ahead and my focus on it will not be diminished.”