In a surprising u-turn, Jim Gill, chief executive of Liverpool Vision has accepted a last minute offer to run the new super-agency for the city.
Gill has agreed to take on the £150,000 role heading the new business support and inward investment super-quango, nicknamed Liverpool plc, which is currently being created by the merger of Vision with two other quangos – Business Liverpool and Liverpool Land Development Company.
Despite resigning from his Liverpool Vision position last October, Gill, who was awarded the OBE for services to regeneration in 2006, didn't originally apply for the position at the agency.
For many months, Gill, 59, who had been chief executive at Vision since 2001, was the favourite to take on the role of running the new company but opted to take on consultancy work instead.
The position was then offered to Michael King, currently head of Jersey's economic development unit. But despite verbally agreeing to take the job in late November, King had a last minute change of heart and decided to stay in Jersey. Gill was then approached to take on the role.
Gill said: "A lot has been achieved in recent times by all three organisations and we must not lose the momentum that has been created. It is my job to make sure the new company hits the ground running.
"This is one of the most important periods in Liverpool's history. The current regeneration of the city's landscape and infrastructure, the growing enterprise culture, the resurrection of commercial activity and private sector confidence provides a huge opportunity for the city.
"Working with the private sector on building on that new found confidence and investment in the city will be the central tenet of the new company.
"Liverpool is a city of great potential and that with co-ordinated and consistent effort its name can have the impact it once had. It will not happen overnight, but I am delighted to have the chance to play a further part in helping Liverpool achieve a brighter and more sustainable future."
Gill will now join chair designate, Mike Parker, at Liverpool plc when it launches in April.
Parker said: "Jim Gill has been recognised at the highest levels for his work in regeneration and his name and reputation have resonance beyond the Liverpool city region.
"We are delighted that we have been able to persuade Jim to stay on to continue his work and to ensure a smooth transition in bringing the three agencies together and therefore giving the new company the best possible start.
"I, personally, am very much looking forward to working closely with Jim and we have already had several productive meetings."
Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, agreed, adding: "We know from the extent to which we cast our net in our search for a leader for the new company that there are very few people in the UK who have as much experience and expertise in regeneration as Jim Gill.
"We wanted the best man for this job and clearly Jim is precisely that. He knows the city well and the key players in regeneration, who not only admire and respect him, but also regard him as an excellent operator.
"Jim Gill will also offer the firm and sure hand needed to steer this new company in the early months of its existence."
One of Gill's first tasks will be to ensure that the current work programmes of the three existing agencies are completed.