Manchester names Bernstein successor

Joanne Roney, chief executive of Wakefield Council, is being lined up to take over as chief executive of Manchester City Council when Sir Howard Bernstein retires next spring.

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

She is currently chief executive of Wakefield Council, where she has held the post since 2008. She 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 such as the Hepworth Gallery.

She was previously director of housing at Kirklees Council, and executive director with responsibility 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 will come as a surprise to many who had seen Stockport Council’s chief executive Eamonn Boylan as a likely successor to Bernstein, who has been chief executive of Manchester since 1998.

Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan, was another name mooted to take over.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “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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David Moyes comes to mind.

By Daniel M

Good to have some new blood in at the highest echelons. Hopefully this will signal a more assertive approach to dealing with property developers, ensuring that major regeneration projects deliver a wider range of benefits and satisfy wider stakeholder needs.

By New broom

Uninspiring appointment….not added value whatsoever….

By Mizzer

Leese’s puppet

By Graham

Hard act to follow, hope she has the passion, vision and commitment to follow Sir Howard. Manchester is in his blood.

By Little cynical

Wow New Broom what a ridiculous statement. What other Local Authority has a better approach to property developers and major regeneration?


Nice that she started as an apprentice. Well done.

By Mary Smiley

NC – you seem to think, like Bernstein, that property development and regeneration are synonymous. Property development is simply a means to an end, the end being, in regeneration terms, a range of physical, social and economic outcomes.

The mistake the ‘old broom’ made was to focus too much on property development as an end itself – great for property developers but the quality, functionality and sustainablity for the city would quite often be lacking. Exhibit A – Piccadilly Garden / One Piccadilly. Exhibit B – First Street / HOME. Exhibit C – St Michaels. Exhibit D – much of the housing led regeneration in inner city areas (apart from Hulme).

By New broom

Well said New Broom. Is city centre development benefitting ordinary Mancunians enough? Probably not, and the examples you give are good ones of how key sites have been compromised.

By Zebith

I’m with New Broom on this one. Her track record suggests she will be better for the city as a whole than SHB. It’s time to level the playing field a bit.

By Gene Walker

Also great to have a woman in charge of the city, after such a lengthy testosterone-dominance 😉

By MancLad

Yes those examples are poor, but what about the likes of Spinningfields, New Cathedral/Urbis, look along Oxford Road (buzz, not necessarily architecture).

Manchester is a vibrant buzzing city which the development industry wants a piece of. It has transformed its city centre from a place of manufacture and decay to a residential centre alive with culture, independent business and major corporations. i think this should be celebrated particularly when you look at how other regional cities have stood still. All done under SHB’s watch.


“Buzz, not necessarily architecture”. Indeed.

By Zebith

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