Joanne Roney Manchester City Council p Manchester City Council

Joanne Roney will leave for Birmingham in September. Credit: via MCC

Roney speaks out on decision to follow heart back to Birmingham

The opportunity to lead her hometown authority out of the doldrums was simply too good to turn down, according to Manchester’s outgoing chief executive.

“I might be an adopted Mancunian, and proud of it, but I’m a native Brummie and this was the only role which could have tempted me away,” Joanne Roney said.

Roney’s move to Birmingham City Council has been confirmed this afternoon. She will remain at Manchester City Council until September before returning to her roots.

“I’ve loved my time in Manchester. It’s a wonderful city and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve here,” she said.

“Whoever follows me as chief executive is inheriting an incredible role alongside a talented and dedicated leadership team.”

At Birmingham City Council, she will succeed Deborah Cadman as head of paid service at the authority, taking on the newly created role of managing director.

The authority declared itself bankrupt last year, which prompted the arrival of government commissioners.

Roney is relishing the challenge that faces her.

“I began my career as an apprentice at Birmingham City Council at the age of 16 so the prospect of concluding it there as managing director, and helping the place where I grew up and my family still live rise to its current challenges, was a compelling one.”

Cllr John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said Roney was “the standout candidate to steer the council through its current challenges”.

“She’s from Birmingham, knows and loves this city and is a committed public servant with a proven track record and a wealth of experience,” he said.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said she understands Roney’s decision to leave.

“I understand the emotional pull the Birmingham job has for Joanne and we wish her every success in her new role as she moves back home.

“We thank her for her service and her contribution to the city over the last seven years.”

Despite Roney’s departure, Craig is adamant the city is in safe hands.

“As she would be the first to say, everything we do here is a team effort and she will leave behind a strong and talented management team with a clear vision of where the city is going, its strengths to be built upon and celebrated and the long-term challenges which we are addressing. It is, as ever, an exciting time in Manchester.”

Manchester City Council will begin the process of finding her successor imminently. Craig believes the role is a compelling proposition.

“Being chief executive of Manchester City Council is one of the best, arguably the best, jobs in local government,” she said.

“You get to be at the heart of our globally-recognised, growing city shaping how services are delivered and how our people and businesses can share in inclusive success.”

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Birmingham is I think still seen as the major Local Authority administration to lead, she is not the first Manchester Chief Executive to move on to the Birmingham job. Roger Taylor did this many years ago.

By KEITH NASH-WHITMORE

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