Riordan has led investment in social housing and infrastructure. Credit: Leeds City Council

Tom Riordan resigns from Leeds

After 14 years at the top of one of the biggest local authorities in the country Tom Riordan has decided the time is right to step down and to explore new challenges. He will leave at the end of the year.

He said in a statement: “I have genuinely loved being chief executive of Leeds City Council, working with the best people in the best city.

“We’ve established a collaborative Team Leeds culture that delivers, working together with our partners to ensure we have a city that’s regenerating and growing sustainably.

“A generation of children are growing up supported by outstanding-rated services, vulnerable people are supported wherever possible and older people are helped to live independent and fulfilling lives, in a city admired for what it gets done and the way it works.

“This has been the most difficult decision, but the time’s right to give someone else a chance to do one of the best jobs in the country.

“While we have many challenges, in common with all councils, Leeds is in as good a place as it can be to weather them. There is also a generation of bright, diverse leaders emerging from communities and in business, public life, and the arts who make me hugely optimistic for the city’s future.”

During his time at Leeds, the city council has been involved in attracting Channel 4, Burberry, the Bank of England and the UK Infrastructure Bank to the city, along with international events like the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. It has built the first direct Arena, expanded the city centre across the South Bank and worked to facilitate the openings of the Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate shopping centres.

Under Riordan, the local authority has invested in an ongoing programme of social housing, along with infrastructure to support the East Leeds Orbital Route.

Cllr James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Tom is an outstanding chief executive and public servant who has worked tirelessly alongside senior politicians, officers and partners over many years with an unwavering determination to achieve the best for Leeds.

“We’ve faced a lot of challenges, not least on the financial front. His contribution has been invaluable in helping us deliver council services that are highly rated, while building stronger communities where people are supported towards better lives and life outcomes.

“In his time with us we’ve also attracted major investment, high-profile events and made great progress on building social housing and infrastructure to under-pin communities for the future.

“Tom has played a key part in helping us to get to where we are today and has built a strong team of senior officers to continue that work. I’d like to take this chance to thank him for his considerable contribution and dedication to the council and city.”

Riordan returned home to Yorkshire after beginning his career in Whitehall, where he specialised in environmental policy, representing the UK in international negotiations on climate change and endangered species. He then set up the Yorkshire Forward regional development agency, becoming its chief executive in 2006 and leading the region’s economic development and regeneration.

A recruitment process will begin shortly to find a successor.

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shame the planning department is so under resourced

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