Sir Howard Bernstein, senior executive director of the board of Manchester, is standing down after 45 years at City Hall.
The 63-year-old, considered at the national level to ensure a series of extraordinary progress for the city – including pump post-IRA reconstruction, Commonwealth Games and the return – he said the time was now right to deliver reins, leaving Manchester looking ahead to a future ‘very, very strong. ”
His decision ends the growing speculation about the timing of his departure, while breaking one of the longest-running partners in government, the council leader Sir Richard Leese.
Sir Howard is expected to retire in the spring of next year.
executive director of Manchester council – who also oversees the combined authority of the region – joined the council in 1971 as a 18-year junior age, office, before working his way up the ladder at a time of great transformation for the city.
In the late 1980s was the spearhead much of that change, including regeneration of Hulme and the establishment of Manchester Airport as a corporation.
In 1990 he became executive vice president, helping to oversee the Olympic bid city – before leading the reconstruction of downtown Manchester after the 1996 IRA bomb.
Since then, he has been knighted for this work, while offering and the organization of the Commonwealth Games, continue to expand the center of the city through a series of important events and pushing the repeated governments to more power to be delivered to the city – which culminates in the amount of 2014 return and a number of other powers in later years.
It has been noted especially for his willingness to work with both the private sector and governments of different trends in order to further the interests of Manchester, more recently, George Osborne.
Sir Howard said he had been “serve the city during such a crucial period privilege” and added: “. I am very proud of what the city has been able to achieve in this time and have played a role in it”
His decision was partly the result of a need to create an orderly succession process, he said, but he also wanted to see more of his family after working ’24 / 7, 52 weeks a year ‘for the past four decades.
“It’s hard,” he said. “Would I like to be 55 again? Yes, I do. I was going to wait another eight years? Yes.
“However, the platform we have achieved in Manchester for change and growth is unprecedented in generations. Whoever takes over from me, the long-term future of this city is very, very strong.”
He said he had no other papers currently lined up after his departure, as he wanted to concentrate fully on a series of challenges facing the Council over the next six months, including a process of making difficult budget.
But he insisted that this does not amount to a retirement, adding that there would be “sitting around the house ‘.
Sir Richard, whose association with Sir Howard has lasted 18 years, said his devotion to Manchester was unprecedented.
“Working with him for many years, meet the challenges and try to seize opportunities for the city, it has been a pleasure,” he said.
“It will be a tough act to follow, but part of his legacy will be the quality of equipment, the strength of relationships and depth of the ambition of the organization to his successor inherits.”
Although the process for hiring a new CEO will begin almost immediately, Sir Richard said that the role of Sir Howard on the board – and the city – was unique.
“We will not have another Howard, let’s be clear,” he said.
“Howard is an isolated event. So we’ll have to do things differently. But there will be no change in our ambition.”
Blackley and Broughton MP Graham Stringer, who led the council 1984-1996 and worked closely with Sir Howard in a series of major projects, said: “Howard has been a unique talent in local government.
“He has been at the center of all the major beneficial economic initiative in Manchester during the past 30 years, bidding to run and the Commonwealth Games for the reconstruction of the city after the bombing.
“Howard has had an inimitable style management and has been a pleasure working with them, as well as council leader and member of Parliament.
“If there had joined the Council at 18, Manchester would have been a different place and the city and the inferior”.
Former Chancellor George Osborne, who worked closely with Sir Howard, while the Treasury, particularly on the return, called him “brilliant”.
“I’ve worked with a lot of very smart officials in Whitehall and come across a lot of officials in local government,” he said.
“But he is one of the very, very best public servants I’ve found,” I just think in a lot of ways he’s the star of British local government and frankly can not think of anyone who approaches him. ”