The leader of Manchester City Council, Richard Leese, has announced his intention to step down after a quarter of a century at the head of the council.
Sir Richard said the decision was an ‘entirely personal decision reflecting my personal priorities for the next few years’.
First elected to the city council in 1984, Sir Richard became leader in May 1996, just one month before the IRA detonated a bomb in Manchester’s city centre.
During his time in office, Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games and the east of the city experienced considerable levels of regeneration.
Sir Richard was knighted for his services to local government in 2006.
He said: ‘My commitment to the city and the city region remains undiminished.
‘It has been an enormous privilege to serve the people of Manchester over this period of time and my heartfelt thanks goes to the thousands of people who have worked with us over the last 25 years.’
Manchester chief executive Joanne Roney added: ‘Sir Richard is a towering figure in the life of Manchester, which has been transformed during more than a quarter of a century of his leadership from a declining, post-industrial city to the fastest growing city in the UK which can face the future with confidence.’