Howard’s way forward
Date published: 14 October 2013
SIR Howard Bernstein — the man widely credited with Manchester’s revival — is to work with Oldham Council as it searches to replace outgoing chief executive Charlie Parker.
Current deputy Mrs Carolyn Wilkins is to be made interim chief executive with Sir Howard brought in especially to help work on regeneration.
Sir Howard has been hailed for his regeneration and transport work, especially for developments since the 1996 IRA bombing of the city centre.
Charlie Parker is leaving Oldham for the job of chief executive at Westminster City Council in London, but no date has yet been set and it is unlikely he will leave before next January.
Sir Howard, chief executive at Manchester City Council, will work alongside Mrs Wilkins and Darren Jones - the council’s director of development and infrastructure - to provide specialist advisory support to the council’s regeneration and commercial activities. The appointments are likely to be confirmed in December.
Council leader Jim McMahon said: “Though Charlie Parker’s departure isn’t imminent we felt it was important to quickly agree a process to find the next chief executive. Subject to approval, the decision to ask Carolyn Wilkins to step up is the obvious and right choice. I know she would have the complete confidence and support of members and officers.
“The move to bring in Sir Howard Bernstein speaks volumes about Oldham Council’s commitment to ensuring its regeneration agenda and deals with commercial partners stay on track. His reputation and track record as a powerbroker extend to the national and international stage. We are delighted he has accepted our invitation.”
Mrs Wilkins (46) joined Oldham Council in 2009 from Rossendale District Council where she had been chief executive for two and a half years. As deputy chief executive her work includes responsibility for human resources, policy, families and communications.
Sir Howard has attracted millions of pounds of investment into Manchester. He was also involved in the development of Manchester Airport as a limited company in the mid-1980s — now the largest British-owned airports group in the UK; and has had a leading role in the Metrolink tram system.
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