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Eamonn Boylan at a Place North West event in 2019. The GMCA chief executive announced his upcoming retirement on Friday. Credit: PNW

‘A force in local government’: Reactions to Boylan’s retirement

After 42 years in public service, Eamonn Boylan is retiring as chief executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester.

Boylan announced Friday he would step down from his leadership positions in May. During his career, he has worked at Homes England, Stockport Council, and Manchester City Council. He became the first chief executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority in 2017.

Reaction to the news was swift, with many praising Boylan for his work to transform Greater Manchester.

Among those was Steve Rumbelow, chief executive of Rochdale Council.

“Eamonn has been a force in local government for a long time,” Rumbelow said. “He will be a big miss for Greater Manchester and the sector as a whole.

“He’s had a few short spells away from GM but his heart’s always been here, he was ‘bred’ for a massively ambitious place like GM, a big thinker who gets stuff done, an exceptional colleague, and a great guy.”

Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council, had similar words of praise for Boylan. “He’s a man of great intelligence and integrity, a brilliant strategist and a friend and I wish him all the best for the future,” she said.

“While he will be retiring, I am sure he will find ways to continue to contribute to the city he loves.”

Former Trafford Council Leader Sean Anstee remarked: “Eamonn is a pioneering leader and his legacy will be felt by the people of the city region for several years to come.

“I always valued his counsel and friendship, which alongside a pragmatic and determined approach, has turned the hopes and dreams of devolution into a reality; positively impacting the people of Greater Manchester today, and for generations to come.”

Muse managing director Phil Mayall reflected on Boylan’s work as chief executive of Stockport Council from 2011 to 2017. During that time, Muse worked closely with the council to develop the £145m Stockport Exchange business district, the fourth phase of which is set to complete in December.

“Eamonn has always been a strong and supportive partner, very clear in what he wants to achieve, which is a real virtue in a leader,” Mayall said. “ As and when he has retired, he can look at the ongoing transformation of Stockport with a sense of real pride and achievement.  He was there alongside us at the very start.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham described the day of Boylan’s retirement announcement as a “sad day for GMCA and TfGM and for me personally.”

Burnham also said that Boylan should be “extremely proud of his legacy”.

“It is a testament to the man that he has committed his whole working life to public service, and he absolutely deserves to retire on his own terms on a high. We will miss him,” Burnham said.

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