THE chief executive of one of East Lancashire’s biggest social housing providers has left his post.

Dr Michael Birkett, who has been in charge of Calico Group since 2006, has joined Bolton-based organisation The Regenda Group.

Under his stewardship, Calico, which has around 4,600 homes in Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale and the Ribble Valley, was named the eighth best employer to work for in the UK.

He said goodbye to colleagues on Friday and will start his new job next Monday.

Lesley Burrows, chairman of Calico Group, paid tribute to Dr Birkett’s achievements, which include increasing the number of employees from 180 to 475, and doubling turnover.

She said: “I’d like to thank Michael for all his hard work at Calico and we wish him every success at Regenda.

Dr Birkett, formerly director of housing and regeneration at Calico, said: “Calico is a brilliant organisation with outstanding staff.”