Greg Dyke is stepping down as chair of Make It York after four years.
The surprise announcement was made in the Thor’s Tipi tent in Museum Gardens last night.
Managing director of York Data Services Mark Fordyce has been named as the new chair.
Managing director Sarah Loftus paid tribute to Greg Dyke, saying: “There’s a lot of things that wouldn’t have happened in York if it hadn’t been for Greg.
“He’s been a fantastic mentor to me over the past two years. The whole team are here tonight to thank him for all his guidance over the past four years.”
Greg, a former chancellor of the University of York, took up the Make It York role in 2019 after Jane, Lady Gibson stepped down. He told YorkMix he accepted the job after his wife encouraged him, because “you really miss going to York”.
“And I’m stepping down now because I’m getting old. I’m 77 next year. I’ve got new grandchildren. I just thought, maybe it’s time I stopped doing some of these things and actually spent more time with my family.
“Mind you, I’m not sure my family want to spend more time with me!”
There have been some big challenges in the last four years. “The biggest challenge and the biggest achievement was we got through Covid – because it devastated the finances of the organisation.
“And we recovered and it’s now pretty healthy.”
Greg has held some of the top jobs in the country. He was chairman of the Football Association and director general of the BBC.
So how did the job as chair of Make It York compare? “You do different things at different times in your life,” he said. “Some things are harder than others.
“Running the BBC was quite a tough job. And of course, I ended up falling out with most of the politicians.
“Here, I’ve gone well with the politicians – with both the last Liberal council and now with the Labour council. I think they both did pretty well.”
He still loves York. “York is a tremendous city. When I compare it from when I first came here in 1971, there’s no comparison at all.
“It was still an industrial city. It was railways, it was chocolate factories, and it’s not that anymore.
“Now you’ve got an awful lot of students here, the universities have done really well and I think York has grown with them.
“If my family did not live in the south, I could have lived here very happily. I think it’s a great city.
“And I always tell everybody I know in London, go live in York, you’ll have a much better life there.”
York is not at the end of its journey, he said: “I think it will grow. One of the other jobs I do is with York Central – and I think York Central will change it further.”