WIRRAL Council's Chief Executive has announced today that he is to retire.

Steve Maddox OBE, who joined the council in 1974 and was appointed to the post in 1998, said this morning: "This has been a very difficult decision for me to take.

"I love Wirral Council and everyone who works for it, however after 36 years service, more than 12 as Chief Executive I feel that the time is right for me to take this step.

"I have particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with the communities, organisations and individuals who work so well together to make Wirral the wonderful place that it is.

"Although I am retiring to spend some long over due time with my wonderful and long suffering family, I will continue to take a strong interest in the future of Wirral and to contribute to its future success in any way that I can."

Born in Merseyside in 1953, Steve attended Merchant Taylors’ School in Crosby and graduated from the University of Kent in 1974.

He joined Wirral Council in December 1974 as a Trainee Solicitor. He qualified in 1977 and became the Council's Deputy Borough Solicitor and Secretary in 1991. He was appointed Chief Executive in March 1998.

He is Clerk to Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority, a Board Member of Greater Merseyside Connexions Partnership and a Governor of Wirral Metropolitan College and Black Horse Hill Junior School.

He has a longstanding interest in Public Health and co-chaired the Merseyside Health Action Zone and the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Network.

He was awarded the OBE for Services to Local Government in the New Years Honours List 2007.

Cllr Jeff Green, Leader of Wirral Council today paid tribute to his service: "Steve Maddox is a shining example of a man dedicated to public service. His commitment to this Council and the positive impact he has made upon Communities right across Wirral are second to none.

"Steve genuinely believes that we all have a duty to tackle disadvantage and deliver the excellent services local people deserve. He will have a lasting legacy and I wish him well for all he will continue to contribute in the future."

Cllr Simon Holbrook, Deputy Leader of Wirral Council added: "Steve has been a great ambassador for the Wirral and has made a significant impact not just upon the Council but across the wider region.

"His membership of the North West and Merseyside Resilience Forums in particular have resulted in the region being better prepared for any emergency response that we all may be required to contribute to.

"He has also given tirelessly to the wider Public health agenda and championed the case for the public sector working more closely together regardless of administrative boundaries."

Cllr Steve Foulkes, Leader of the Labour Group: "I am very sad that Steve Maddox has decided to leave us, on a personal and professional level.

"We have worked closely together for a long time and watched Wirral grow and change for the better as plans for regeneration begun a decade or more ago have slowly developed and come to fruition.

"Steve and I had a mutual respect for each other. He understood the wider picture behind creating growth and prosperity for Wirral residents and has been very active in the City Region Cabinet, which sought to bring all the Merseyside authorities together to create a region capable of competing for business and investment with centres across Europe.

"On a more personal level, I know he has been active in helping large numbers of Wirral's communities and charitable organisations and that they will miss him very much.

"Steve is essentially a self effacing and modest man who probably has no idea of the very real and extensive legacy he will be leaving behind.

"We know, and are grateful for it. I wish him all the best for the future and hope that he will continue to be involved with the people of Wirral, for whom he has always been an eloquent and passionate advocate."