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Sir Howard Bernstein to retire from Manchester City Council chief executive role

Sir Howard Bernstein Photo: Press Association

Manchester City Council's 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 role since 1998.

He 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.

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."

– Sir Howard Bernstein
Sir Howard Bernstein Credit: Press Association

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Sir Howard is widely recognised as one of the great local government chief executives."

“He will be a hard act to follow but part of his legacy will be the quality of the team, the strength of relationships and the depth of organisational ambition his successor inherits.

“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.”

– Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council

A meeting of the Council’s Personnel Committee will be convened shortly to begin the process of recruiting the next chief executive.