The long-time director of growth and development at Manchester City Council is to leave the organisation in April after 20 years.
Smith is a well-known figure across the development community in Manchester. According to the council, Smith, who turns 60 next year, will “step down from his role to pursue new challenges”.
Smith said: “This has been a tough personal decision but after nearly 20 years working in Manchester in a number of rewarding but demanding roles my family and I felt it was time to do something different and having a landmark birthday on the horizon has really brought this into focus.
“I have loved working here and I am proud of what we all have achieved together in regenerating this fantastic city.
“I don’t know exactly what the future holds but I do know that it won’t be in local government or the public sector, or in Manchester itself, because I simply don’t think there is a better place to work than Manchester City Council.”
Starting as the head of regeneration in 2000, Smith went on to become the deputy chief executive and then the chief executive of New East Manchester Urban Regeneration Company, which saw the redevelopment including Manchester City FC’s Etihad stadium.
He returned to the council as the strategic director of growth and development and has also overseen major commercial and residential developments such as Airport City.
Last year saw the retirement of a senior member of Smith’s team, head of housing Paul Beardmore. Beardmore was replaced by Jon Sawyer in summer 2018, however Sawyer left the council in August to work on other projects. Kevin Lowry has been appointed interim director of housing and residential growth, joining from Wythenshawe Community Housing Trust.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Eddie has played an important part in the regeneration of Manchester. In recent decades we have seen the city transformed from a place in post-industrial decline, with a falling population and areas such as East Manchester in the doldrums, to somewhere people are eager to be which has re-established itself on a global stage. You only have to look at the forest of cranes on the city skyline and beyond to see the unprecedented amount of development which is taking place.”
Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council, said: “I want to thank Eddie for his contribution to the city and wish him well for the future. While I’ll personally miss him, the strategic direction he has helped set and the city’s successful record of public-private partnerships delivering development which creates jobs, opportunities and homes the city needs will very much continue.”
On his appointment, Lowry said: “At a time of unprecedented growth, I look forward to the challenge of ensuring that housing in the city meets the needs of residents, and continue to develop high-quality, decent and secure homes that Manchester people can afford.”