The influential policy unit for the Manchester Family of organisations is to lose its long-time chief executive, Mike Emmerich at the end of March.
Emmerich has guided New Economy through key research projects that have underpinned numerous funding and power-grabbing bids by the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, including the devolution deal.
The pivotal Manchester Independent Economic Review published in 2009 was commissioned under his stewardship and was quickly established as fundamental economic evidence that could be used to argue for greater spending controls and financial leverage.
Emmerich will announce details of his new company after the General Election in May. He is understood to be working with other city growth experts on his new venture. These include Ben Lucas, chairman of public services at the Royal Society of Arts, which jointly commissioned the City Growth Commission project last year cited by George Osborne at the launch of his Northern Powerhouse policy in summer 2014.
Emmerich worked as a management consultant with EY before becoming policy advisor to Tony Blair between 2000 and 2002. He joined New Economy Manchester from University of Manchester where he was director of the Institute for Political & Economic Governance.
Mike Emmerich, outgoing chief executive of New Economy, said: "Over the past eight years, we've managed to build something exceptionally unique here in Greater Manchester; a ground-breaking organisation that supports the combined authority through dedicated research, expertise and independent thinking.
"With projects such as the Manchester Independent Economic Review through to securing funding for the National Graphene Institute and the recent devolution deal, I'm proud to have developed New Economy as a national and international exemplar for research and evaluation. It's an organisation that is underpinned by a dedicated team who have contributed towards some truly seismic shifts in our region's economic development.
"Of course I'm sad to depart, but I leave New Economy in very capable hands with Simon Nokes [deputy chief executive] and the rest of senior management remaining at the helm. Indeed this is an exciting time for Manchester and having been instrumental in securing the conurbation's recent devolution deal – I feel this is now the right time for me to move onto pastures new.
"I look forward to announcing more about a new project that I will be working upon in due course. In the meantime, I will continue to develop and promote Greater Manchester's intellectual leadership through the successful Discuss Manchester series of debates, which are now a regular feature of the life of the city."
Mark Hughes, chief executive of Manchester Growth Company, the overarching organisation within which New Economy sits, said: "We wish Mike all the very best for his future career and would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his efforts and achievements to improve the economic prosperity of Greater Manchester.
"During his time as chief executive for New Economy, Mike has played a key role in the evolution of Greater Manchester's governance and its economic policy agenda. He created what we now know as New Economy from Manchester Enterprises, initiated and developed the Manchester Independent Economic Review and led its implementation, and in so do doing, has changed the way the city thinks, preparing the ground for the devolution agenda of today."
New Economy is part of the Manchester Family of agencies, along with Marketing Manchester, MIDAS Manchester's Inward Investment Agency and the Greater Manchester Growth Company.
Emmerich is due to leave on 31 March and then a recruitment process will begin to find a replacement.