GRAHAM Burgess is to retire as chief executive of Wirral Council. 

Mr Burgess broke the news at tonight's meeting of the ruling cabinet and said he will leave the authority on December 31. 

The 62-year-old joined Wirral Council in September 2012 having previously been the chief executive of Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council. 

"When I took up post, I said that first and foremost, my role was to help shape the transformation of Wirral. 

"Wirral is now a very different place to when I arrived, and I feel that now is the right time to hand over to let the next phase of this work begin."

Mr Burgess thanked Wirral's councillors, staff and residents for their hard work, adding: "I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the organisations and communities that make Wirral a special place, and I will continue to take a strong interest in the borough's future.

"There are many excellent people working for Wirral and I wish them every success as they take the authority forward."

Before joining Wirral Council on a full-time basis, Mr Burgess - who was born and lives in Liverpool - had spent a considerable amount of time in Wirral, including as a member of the council's Local Government Association-led improvement board. 

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: "Graham joined us at a very difficult time and has been a very positive and transformational catalyst for change. 

"I would like to thank him for galvanising a collective will to move forward positively and constructively.

"I am sad to see him go. We have been a good partnership forged by a shared appetite for change and innovation.

"However, we will continue the positive progress already made, and look forward to choosing a new chief executive to continue to take us forward into the next phase."

In response to the surprise announcement of the retirement of Mr Burgess, Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead, said: "The momentum for changing Wirral that has been built over the past few years must be capitalised and built upon.

"Now that Wirral is becoming used to thinking imaginatively and with purpose, it is crucial that our search for a chief executive matches that renewed ambition and is therefore not gated to Merseyside.

"Even after the huge cuts that the Tories have wickedly imposed on Wirral's budget, we will still have a turnover larger than most of the major companies operating in this country and Europe.

"We must set our sights for the first time on selecting a new chief executive from a European pool of proven entrepreneurs who have shown an ability to increase customer satisfaction whilst cutting costs.

"I call upon the council to seize the opportunity and appoint a candidate that would be the envy of other authorities. This is a defining moment for the council and for Wirral."


'Finally, it is right to place on record our gratitude to Graham Burgess for steering us through a period of great difficulty. I hope the next period is one of great prosperity.'