Liverpool City Council Chief Executive Sir David Henshaw has announced he will be retiring from his post in March.
He said: 'Having been born and bred in Liverpool it has been a huge privilege to have served as Chief Executive at such an important time. When I joined the Council, Liverpool was third from bottom in the league table of local authority performance, and charged the highest Council tax in the country.
'The combination of effective political and managerial leadership has resulted in a tremendous transformation and a reduced council tax. We have also moved from being a failing authority to one which is succeeding. There is a lot still to do but the achievement so far has been excellent.
'None of this could have happened without the fantastic people who work for and serve the authority. All around are colleagues who have made it possible and I would like to thank and pay tribute to everyone for their hard work, focus, loyalty and dedication.
'In addition, despite the tensions of the last six months, I would like to thank Mike Storey for his support and leadership during his time as Leader of the Council. Nothing can take away the achievements of the last few years.'
Sir David, who was knighted for services to Local Government in 2004, will retire on 31 March, 2006. He said: 'It's well known that the new Government rules on pensions will severely penalise me if I stay with the council after that date, and that is why I have made this decision.
'The last six months have been challenging, but I feel this is the right time after more than sixteen years as a Chief Executive, to stand down and take things a bit easier. The timing also means that new Council Leader Warren Bradley and his team have plenty of time to find my successor before the city celebrates its 800th birthday and its year as European Capital of Culture.
'Although I have only worked with Warren as leader for a short time, I would like to wish him every success for the future.'
Councillor Warren Bradley said: 'Sir David has done a tremendous job for the people of Liverpool. We are extremely sad he has decided to go. Sir David and Councillor Mike Storey came together and oversaw a tremendous team of people delivering vast improvements in the city.
'Apart from the fantastic achievement of winning Capital of Culture, Sir David will be, in particular, rightly proud of the massive improvements in the education of our young people, a huge improvement in Council services, and the enormous regeneration of the city which benefits everyone.
'On a personal note I would like to wish Sir David and his wife Alison every success and happiness for the future.'
Councillor Bradleyadded: 'It will now be a priority for the Executive Board to start the search for a top-flight Chief Executive to replace Sir David. We are confident that the senior management team will carry on full steam ahead in the interim. The timing means that the new Chief Executive will be in place and on top of the job before our hugely important years of 2007 and 2008.'