Tom Russell, one of the most highly regarded regeneration leaders in the country, is close to joining the London Development Agency to help deliver the legacy programme for the Olympics in 2012.
Russell, chief executive of New East Manchester since 2002, has led the comprehensive regeneration of the deprived eastern end of the city, taking in 2,000 hectares including Openshaw, Gorton and Miles Platting.
The NEM programme orchestrated numerous UK and European regeneration funding regimes. Achievements to date include the stadiums originally built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002 at Sportcity, new commercial space at Central Park, modern mixed-tenure housing at New Islington and approval for Openshaw district centre.
At the LDA, Russell will head a new company formed by the merger of the Olympics Land Team and Olympics Opportunity Team.
His is the latest high-profile appointment at the LDA and Olympic Delivery Authority as they seek to recruit the best planning, development and community regeneration operators in the UK.
Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, sits on the ODA board and is chairman of its audit committee.
Carol Ainscow, chairman and chief executive of Artisan, an active developer in the area, said: "New East Manchester must be one of the best examples of major event-led regeneration in the world. Tom has set the benchmark, both in his leadership of his team and in his ability to build strong relationships with the local community, developers and other key stakeholders. He will be sorely missed but we wish him all the best in his new challenge."
The LDA and Russell were unavailable for comment.