North East Local Enterprise Partnership CEO Helen Golightly has announced her intention to leave public service in May.
Golightly said in a statement: “I am immensely proud of the team of incredible individuals we have brought together at the LEP.
“I can honestly say that they are the most dedicated, passionate, driven team I have ever worked with, and I’m excited to see what happens next as their collective passion to make a difference for others moves into the new Mayoral Combined Authority when it is formed on 7 May.
“Our journey to devolution has certainly been interesting, but together as a region, we have made it happen. I am proud of the part I have played in reaching this monumental point where our region unites as one, having secured the ambitious and historic deal.
“However, the time feels right for me to step away in May, and not be part of the new organisation.
“As a member of the region’s interim senior team for the new Mayoral Combined Authority, I am working closely with colleagues to ensure the region builds on the progress made to date by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and that we are operationally ready from day one in May.
“I remain fully committed in supporting colleagues to do that. We have huge ambitions for the new organisation, and being ready to deliver from day one, whilst bringing five organisations together, has always been a critical part of the transition plan.
“Anyone who knows me will say that my family is my biggest passion in life, followed closely by a sense of adventure to see as much of the world as possible.
“After more than 33 years as a public servant, it feels like the right time to do more of those things. I’ll always be one of the North East’s most passionate champions.”
Lucy Winskell, chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Helen has been an outstanding public servant for the past 33 years and it has been an absolute privilege for me personally, to work with her so closely over the past four years.
“Not only have I learned so much from her, I have nothing but respect for her calm, inclusive and impactful leadership, something I know my fellow board members and LEP chairs before me, Andrew Hodgson and Paul Woolston, would be in complete agreement with.
“Helen’s contribution to the North East will be felt for many years to come, but today, I offer nothing but best wishes to her and her family, who mean so much to her, as they prepare to embark on this exciting next chapter in a few months’ time.”