Richard Nutter

Objective One boss joins Liverpool City Council

Richard Nutter, European programme director for Merseyside, is leaving Government Office for the North West to join Liverpool City Council as assistant executive director of policy, programmes and performance.

Nutter was responsible for the £910m grant-funding regime for Merseyside during the 2000 to 2006 programme. For the last 18 months he also managed the Objective Two and Three programmes in the wider North West. All programmes have until the end of 2008 to spend their current allocation.

His departure comes as management of the European programme is about to be handed over to the North West Development Agency. The follow-on programme will be cut by around two thirds to reflect the greater investment in the new EU member states in Eastern European.

In a statement, Keith Barnes, chairman of the North West Programme Monitoring Committee and regional director of GONW, said: "Richard played a major part in the successful delivery of the Objective One programme which has transformed Merseyside in the eyes of the country and the rest of the world.

"He leaves as plans to transfer responsibility for the new European Regional Development Fund Programme from Government Office to the North West Development Agency are well advanced and progressing smoothly."

Barnes himself is also on the move, having announced his intention to leave GONW last year. His replacement as regional director is Liz Meek, a senior civil servant with extensive experience of regeneration and urban development,

Liz MeekMeek will leave her current role at the Government Office for London in the spring.

Barnes joined Government Office from Thurrock Council where he was chief executive. Before that he was a member of Manchester City Council for seven years, during which time he chaired Manchester Airport.

He said: "In many ways this has been my dream job. I am a Mancunian by birth and have been proud to speak up for the region which is so close to my heart and where I intend to stay."

Barnes has not announced his future plans.

In the early 1990s, Meek established the Government unit responsible for input to the Manchester Olympic Bid and was heavily involved in preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Bid.

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