ABERDEENSHIRE Council will have a new political leader following the local authority elections on May 3.
Current leader Anne Robertson is standing down as head of the Liberal Democrat group but will remain as council and group leader until polling day.
If she is returned as one of the three councillors for Turriff and District, she will transfer the leadership to someone else.
Mrs Robertson was keen to dispel any suggestion that she was standing down from the roles immediately and confirmed that she would remain as group and council leader up until the elections.
She denied that stress or long hours as authority leader had anything to do with her decision to stand down.
After five years in office she said that someone else should be given the opportunity of leadership.
Inverurie councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes will be the next Lib Dem group leader - if he is re-elected.
He was first elected in 2003 and then re-elected four years later as one of two Lib Dem councillors in the four-member Inverurie and District ward.
A former council officer, Mr Kitts-Hayes has a background in economic development in both the public and private sectors.
In addition to his responsibilities as chair of the Garioch Area Committee for the past five years, he has served on the infrastructure services committee and local review body, as well as representing the council’s interests on a number of national bodies.
Paying tribute to Mrs Robertson, Mr Kitts-Hayes said that he had spent the past year shadowing her as group leader designate, and that he hoped he would be able to bring his own character to bear on the position.
He described Mrs Robertson as “a tremendously hard-working leader of the council” and “a hard act to follow.”