Manchester’s development boss quits after a year

Louise Wyman

Manchester City Council said on Tuesday that Louise Wyman is to step down from the role as Strategic Director of Development at the end of April after just under a year in the job because she “wants to be closer to family” in the Midlands.

“Louise took up the role during the first lockdown and has been responsible for the city’s strategic development resilience throughout the pandemic, and has led the response to Covid developing a robust strategy of economic recovery,” said the council.

“Based in the Midlands prior to taking the role in Manchester, Louise has reflected on the last year and concluded that she wants to be closer to family.

“Louise’s view is that the strategic director role needs someone to be present and active in the city, driving the economic recovery, investment and growth plans.

“Interim arrangements for the Strategic Director of Development role will be put in place in due course.”

Wyman said: “I’ve made the decision to leave Manchester City Council towards the end of April.

“It has been a genuine privilege to be Strategic Director for Growth and Development for the past year and lead a brilliant team of talented, dedicated and enterprising colleagues.

“I’m proud of the plans we’ve put in place, with partners across the city, to drive Manchester’s economic recovery and secure future investment.

“Despite the challenges of working through a pandemic we’ve continued to drive transformational projects for the city such as: Victoria North, Mayfield, Eastern Gateway and the new Arena.

“A clear transition plan to bring our ALMO Northwards back into the Council in July 2021 is now in place.

“Real progress in also underway to decarbonise our corporate estate to meet our zero carbon ambitions.

“Manchester’s property market has shown true resilience over the past year and with robust plans in place, the city is well positioned to recover from Covid-19.

“It’s now time for me to move on but I wish my fantastic colleagues, our partners and the amazing city of Manchester every success in the future.”

Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese said: “This past year has urged many of us to reflect and consider what in our lives we hold most dear and where we should focus our energies.

“Although we’re sad to lose a member of our senior team, her decision to prioritise family at this time is one that we very much respect.

“Louise’s legacy from her albeit brief tenure at Manchester City Council will be felt for years to come, as we embrace her economic recovery plans that will help ensure the city’s success beyond the pandemic.”

Manchester City Council CEO Joanne Roney said: “Although Louise has been with us for a short time, the work that she has led will be crucial to Manchester and I can’t thank her enough for her time with us.

“Louise’s contribution to an economic recovery strategy and roadmap out of the pandemic will continue to guide the future prosperity of the city for years to come.

“And under her watch, her teams have driven – and will continue to drive – some exemplar development projects, including Mayfield and Victoria North.

“While at the same time bringing the management of Council-owned social housing back under the care of the City Council.

“Louise has brought passion and dedication to her role and to the city and we wish her the very best for the future.”

Wyman joined Manchester City Council following previous roles as Director of Design and Inclusive Growth at the West Midlands Combined Authority and as Director of Strategy & Engagement at Homes England.

She was central to Edward Lister’s team that established the government’s housing agency.

Wyman undertook her Masters’ Degree at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and spent time at Harvard as an Instructor for its Career Discovery Programme.

She led urban renewal projects in San Francisco following the 1989 earthquake and has been a member of the Planning Committee for London Legacy Development Corporation with responsibility for developing London’s 2012 Olympic Park.