Eddie Smith has been promoted to acting chief executive of urban regeneration company New East Manchester following the departure of Tom Russell who has joined the London Development Agency as director of legacy for the 2012 Olympics.
Smith joined NEM 12 months ago as deputy chief executive from Manchester City Council, where he was head of regeneration. He has also worked for Blackburn with Darwen council and Oldham council.
Robert Hough, chairman of NEM, said: "Eddie Smith has already made a significant contribution to the work undertaken by New East Manchester over the past year and has recently played a major role in the process to define the strategy of NEM over its next phase.
"Tom has done an incredible job over the last seven years in spearheading the regeneration of east Manchester. His drive, tenacity and long term strategic vision for physical, social and economic change has enabled us to come a long way in a relatively short period of time. We wish Tom every success in this high profile new role, which is hugely deserved, but we will be especially sorry to see him go."
As well as the Sportscity facilities delivered for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, NEM has helped deliver extensive new housing in areas such as Ancoats and New Islington as well as businesses premises at Central Park.
On his departure, Russell said: "It's been a privilege to have been involved over the past seven years in the renaissance of east Manchester, which is a truly remarkable place in so many ways. It will be an enormous wrench to leave. There is tremendous pride in this part of the city and a real sense of community spirit and working with local people has taught me a great deal about how best to regenerate deprived areas.
"Urban renewal is never straightforward but the signs of improvement are now visible for all to see across the area and it is very satisfying to know that they are already making a real difference to people's lives. The Olympics gives me a new and exciting challenge and allows me the opportunity to apply the lessons learnt in east Manchester to another inner city area that desperately needs to benefit from a comprehensive regeneration programme."
Smith added: "There are now huge opportunities to continue this momentum and accelerate the regeneration of east Manchester. The future is very exciting for this part of the city with developments, such as the construction of Metrolink, which will give the area a significant boost."
The position of chief executive of NEM will be advertised and filled permanently in due course.