Neil McInroy to stand down as CEO of CLES thinktank

As head of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies Mr McInroy has been a strong advocate for community wealth building

Neil McInroy is stepping down as chief executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) after 18 years in the role.

Mr McInroy, 54, who joined CLES in 2000 and became chief executive in 2003, is due to leave in July 2021 after a transition period. He will become a strategic advisor to the organisation and a member of its Board of Trustees.

He said: “In these times of crises, I have come to a decision that it is the moment to make a change: professionally and in life. During my time at CLES, I have worked with thousands of individuals and communities, hundreds of local and national governments and a range of organisations, in a myriad of contexts.  I have worked the length and breadth of UK, and been to places all around the globe. CLES has enabled these opportunities and as a result I have grown and matured professionally and as a person.

“During this time, CLES has also grown and matured, establishing itself as the driving force behind for community wealth building in the UK and a key delivery vehicle for economic reform at the local and national government level … Now, it is time for me to build on this experience and start a new chapter.”

Related: Co-op News speaks to Neil McInroy about land ownership

Manchester City Council, a founding member of CLES, is represented on the board by Cllr Suzanne Richards, who said: “Neil has demonstrated unwavering commitment, hard work and zeal since he joined the organisation two decades ago. For this we offer our sincere thanks and wish him nothing but goodwill for his future endeavours.”

CLES chair Gill Steward said: “CLES is a family, and while on a personal note we are saddened that Neil is stepping down after 20 years, the board of trustees past and present are immensely grateful for his committed leadership and his role in amplifying the impact, reach and reputation of the organisation.

“During these turbulent times, the work of CLES is as important as ever. CLES will begin the recruitment of our new chief executive during November, so there is an opportunity for a long handover. Our new chief executive will join an organisation with a long and celebrated history, extremely strong foundations, experienced and passionate staff, and a skilled and experienced board committed to economic, social and ecological justice.”

Mr McInroy said: “I would like to thank the board in 2003 who took a gamble on me, and the present board for all their support over the last few years and in recent months and weeks. CLES is in assured hands. 

“The new CEO will come into an organisation that is solid and secure, and I have a few months to work with the incoming CEO. I will always remain an ardent advocate for the CLES agenda in advancing local economic, social and ecological justice and will now pursue differing ways and contexts to achieve this. However, I will be honoured to join the CLES board, as well as play an ongoing role as a strategic adviser to CLES and continuing to work on some ongoing and new projects.”

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