HAMMERSMITH and Fulham Council's chief executive has announced his intention to step down at the end of the year.
Derek Myers took the helm at the council in October 2011 while also running the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea since 2000, and became the UK's chief executive to lead two unitary authorities.
This followed radical plans to combine a range of services, cut management costs and protect front line services.
However Hammersmith & Fulham electing a new leader last year, and Kensington and Chelsea about to choose a new leader following Sir Merrick Cockell’s decision to step down after 13 years in charge, Mr Myers has decided time is right to go to allow the two council leaders to appoint a new joint chief executive.
The move will allow the two councils to advertise in June and enable a managed handover later in the year.
Mr Myers said: "I have had the best job in local government for 13 years and a total of 16 years as a London chief executive and it seems right to get out of the way and let someone else have a go. In time, I hope to use some of what I have learned in other places.
"I’m very pleased to say that although there have been many challenges I’ve had enormous fun and had the privilege of working with extremely dedicated councillors and officers every day to help individuals fulfil their potential, preserve their independence or just enjoy living in a marvellous part of London."
Councillor Nick Botterill, Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader, said: "Derek led the way in reducing management costs while helping to improve council services in many areas. He has devoted his life to public service and has been a major force in the Tri-borough plans to improve the lives of residents by sharing best practice and reducing duplication and waste."
Sir Merrick Cockell, outgoing Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: "Under the guiding hand of Derek Myers Kensington and Chelsea has been one of the best performing councils in the country according to both the Audit Commission and Ofsted. Most importantly, the Council has consistently achieved the highest resident satisfaction ratings in London.
"You simply don't get our level of performance, over so many years, without a first rate chief executive."
H&F Labour leader, Councillor Stephen Cowan, wished Mr Myers well in his retirement, but added of the December or January departure: "That of course is only five months before the local elections when there is the strong possibility that there will be a change in administration.
"My Labour colleagues and I plan to significantly reduce the senior management team and radically cut costs. We will therefore delete this £300, 000.00 a year post, which is currently the highest paid council CEO role in Britain, and merge its responsibilities with another role. I therefore think it is in the public interests that the Conservative administration do not replace this position. They should hold off for five months so that the decision what to do next is made after May 2014 - after the public have made their choice on who the new administration will be."