Roy Morris, chairman of inward investment and tourism agency The Mersey Partnership, has resigned and will leave at the end of the year.
His departure comes shortly after the appointment of a new chief executive, Lorraine Rogers, the chairman of Tranmere Rovers FC, in August.
Formerly chief executive of Liverpool-based fund manager Rathbones, Morris has served two three-year terms as TMP's chairman, the maximum allowed under the organisation's constitution. In that time TMP's membership has almost doubled to 110 corporate members and 382 tourism and conference members.
TMP employs nearly 100 people and raises revenue of £7m a year; roughly one third from private subscription, another third from the five local authorities of Merseyside plus Halton, and the remainder from the European Regional Development Fund via the Objective One programme for Merseyside. It also trades as a tourism booking office for hotels and conference venues. As a not-for-profit company TMP seeks to spend all its funds each year and last year reported a £10,000 surplus.
TMP comes in for frequent criticism from the local business community who find its role ambiguous and complain it does not secure sufficient inward investment. Its role has changed recently as it has become aligned with the powerful North West Development Agency acting as its 'sub-regional partner' responsible for delivery across Merseyside.
In her first months in charge, Rogers has responded to criticism of TMP by voicing her own frustration that it does not receive enough funding to fulfil its potential.
The investment team of TMP reported 300 inquiries in the year to April, compared to an average of 250. Of these inquiries, 25 projects came to fruition, producing in the order of 1,200 new jobs.
Morris, a familiar player in the regional business scene with more than a dozen non-executive and trustee roles to occupy him, said in a statement: "The theme of The Mersey Partnership's most recent annual report is 'We've Come A Long Way' and that perfectly reflects my views on my time at TMP. I have always been passionate about my hometown, and it has been both a pleasure – and at times a challenge – to chair the partnership's unique alliance of public and private sector organisations. Together, we really have come a long way and I am very proud of what we have collectively achieved on behalf of the city region, our members and our key partners and stakeholders."
He added: "It was my opinion that I could not leave TMP until the position of chief executive was filled. Lorraine Rogers arrived at the end of August and has now settled in."
TMP deputy chairman Cllr Ron Round, leader of Knowsley council, said: "Roy's considerable experience in the private sector and extensive knowledge of the city region have helped him make a major contribution to TMP during his time as chairman."