The chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council, Colin Mackenzie, has announced his retirement.
Mr Mackenzie was appointed chief executive in 2008, from his former role as director of housing and social work.
He began his career as a social worker at Dundee City Council in 1973, joiningGrampian Regional Council as social work manager in 1982.
In 2001, he was appointed director of housing and social work for Aberdeenshire Council and held this post until late 2008 when he became chief executive.
He has supported a range of high profile national activities including president of the Association of Directors of Social Work in 2005.
He currently represents the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives on the Scottish Government Group overseeing Health & Social Care Integration.
During his time as chief executive, Mr Mackenzie has transformed how the council engages with residents, going into communities to ask what they would do if they were in his shoes, and using that information to help set future priorities for the council.
He also streamlined the senior management structure in 2010, reducing the number of chief officers by a third, to contribute towards the delivery of £52 million savings.
Council leader, Jim Gifford, acknowledged the contribution of Mr Mackenzie, in a career in local government that has spanned over 40 years.
He said: “Colin has demonstrated inspirational leadership to the workforce and has continued to build on Aberdeenshire Council’s excellent reputation for delivering vital public services, and managing its finances robustly.
“He has built a strong team of senior officers who are committed to public service delivery and are confident and capable in their abilities to transform the council to meet future challenges.”
Mr Mackenzie said: “I believe that now is the right time for someone else to lead and shape the council as it moves into the challenging phase of continuing to deliver excellent local services within an era of significant financial constraint.
“I am very confident that we are in an excellent position to manage these challenges both locally and nationally positively.
“I feel honoured to have served the communities of Aberdeenshire over many years and to have worked with so many dedicated and committed people.”
Mr Mackenzie will remain as chief executive until his replacement has been appointed.
The recruitment process will begin immediately and is likely to take a number of months.
Meanwhile, on hearing the news, Christian Allard MSP thanked Mr Mackenzie for his tireless work in the local authority over the last three decades.
Mr Allard said Mr Mackenzie had made a tremendous contribution to Aberdeenshire Council during his time there.
The North East MSP added that Mr Mackenzie’s expertise has served many of his constituents very well and he knew he would leave very big shoes to fill.
Mr Allard lodged a motion to the Scottish Parliament to acknowledge the chief executive’s service to Aberdeenshire Council over the last three decades.
He said:“Colin Mackenzie will be missed by his colleagues and by everyone that works closely with Aberdeenshire Council.
“I would like to thank Colin for his tireless work at the Council.
“From my own experience I know that he has been able to use his expertise to help a number of my constituents.
“After more than 30 years at the Council his departure will be a loss. He leaves very big shoes to fill.”