Manchester City Council names Bernstein successor

Joanne Roney.

Joanne Roney, chief executive of Wakefield Council, is believed to have been chosen as the new chief executive of Manchester City Council to take over from Sir Howard Bernstein when he retires next spring.

Following a “a rigorous interview process”, Roney has been recommended to the council’s personnel committee as Manchester’s new chief executive and her final approval is expected to be announced at a meeting of the council on 14 December.

Currently chief executive of Wakefield Council, a post she has held since 2008, Roney, 55, started her career in local government as an apprentice with Birmingham City Council at 16, and has a track record in transforming public services and delivering major regeneration initiatives. She was previously director of housing at Kirklees Council and executive director for housing, communities and adult care services at Sheffield City Council. She was awarded the OBE for services to local government in 2009.

Roney’s appointment was not widely predicted, with many observers seeing Stockport Council’s chief executive Eamonn Boylan as a likely successor to Bernstein, who has been chief executive of Manchester since 1998.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, commented: “We were hugely impressed at interview by Joanne’s drive, strategic vision and determination to ensure that all Manchester residents can be part of the city’s success story.

“This an exciting time for Manchester City Council. We have a clear, shared vision for the future direction of the city – set out in the Our Manchester Strategy for the next decade – and a strong platform from which to move forwards. This includes a high quality team, strong relationships with partner organisations and an established culture of ambition.

“We don’t shy away from the fact that there are still significant challenges ahead to connect all of Manchester’s communities with the opportunities being created here and I have no doubt that this will be right at the top of the new chief executive’s agenda.”

Roney said: “Manchester is a confident and dynamic city and this in an exciting time for anyone to be joining Manchester City Council. I’m honoured to be in line for this prestigious role and looking forward to building on the legacy created by Sir Howard and playing my part, alongside Sir Richard and the wider team, in shaping the next phase of Manchester and Greater Manchester’s journey.”

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