RICHARD Sheard, the shared chief executive of South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils, has announced he is to retire at the end of March.
Richard, (pictured) who took on the role three years ago, told staff and councillors that he felt it was 'the right time to hand over the reins' after more than 40 years working in local government.
Since his appointment to the dual role, Richard has been instrumental in overseeing the completion of sharing services between the two authorities – an initiative that has saved almost £6 million to date.
He has also been at the forefront of a pioneering programme to transform the way the two councils work, which breaks away from traditional local government and is more focussed on the needs of residents and communities with the support of new technology.
Richard said: "Both councils are about to embark on an innovative new way of working which will ensure the way we deliver services to residents and communities remains at the very heart of everything we do.
"My decision has been a difficult one to make. However, it is much easier given my firm belief that we have a team of highly capable, motivated managers, with great staff, supported by councillors who will collectively lead and see the programme successfully implemented."