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.”