The chief executive of South Ribble Borough Council has resigned after more than two decades of service.

Mike Nuttall, who has worked at the authority for 25 years, was unanimously voted in as chief executive in 2011.

Mr Nuttall's resignation comes after months of turmoil at the authority in the wake of a leaked report which criticised safeguarding procedures when giving licences to taxi drivers.

A fortnight ago, the then leader of the council, Margaret Smith also quit her post, citing 'health reasons'.

Announcing his resignation, Mr Nuttall, said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to step down as chief executive of South Ribble Borough Council.

“I have been proud to work for the authority for more than 25 years – spending the last six years as chief executive overseeing an extremely dedicated, hardworking and talented team of officers who have always gone above and beyond to deliver first class services.

“I would like to thank them all for their sterling efforts and also thank everyone who has supported me in my role over the years – South Ribble politicians, colleagues from neighbouring councils, representatives from partner agencies and importantly residents from across the borough.

“I look forward to watching the council continue to prosper in the future.”

Reacting to news of his resignation, leader of the Council, councillor Colin Clark thanked him for his long and loyal service.

He added: “It is safe to say that Mike will be sorely missed by all at the council – politicians and officers alike as he is very well respected and admired by all. He has dedicated much of his working life to the authority – and for that we are extremely grateful and thankful.

“Combining the role of chief executive and chief financial officer, he has expertly guided the borough through challenging times while ensuring that the services our residents value the most are not only protected, but invested in too. He managed this while ensuring we could freeze council tax – by no means an easy task.

“Mike is one of life’s good guys and we truly wish him all of the best with his future.”

Opposition leader, Councillor Paul Foster, added: “Mike is an honest and honourable man whose integrity is admired by all.

“We all owe him a great debt of gratitude and he will be greatly missed at South Ribble Borough Council. We sincerely wish him all the best for the future.”

Discussions will now start regarding replacing Mr Nuttall as chief executive.