Sunderland For Transparency has today announced the retirement of Christopher Marshall as its Managing Director, in order to pursue new ventures; as it now seeks new leadership to address the challenges and opportunities in the weeks and months lying ahead.

Speaking earlier, Mr Marshall said: "I would like to thank everybody who has supported me both personally and politically, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported our shared SFT cause. The City Council is far more diverse now than ever before in its history; we now have a wide range of experienced Councillors and I feel it is right to allow somebody else to continue with fresh leadership of SFT after an extremely successful year."

"We have exposed a large range of various scandals such as the £128,000 spent on business class flights or the £7.5 million Siglion bonanza. Whether it's small amounts of waste or on a much larger scale, we have never shyed away from an issue. None of this would have been possible without our incredible and talented team and I am extremely proud of the success we have had over the past year in holding Sunderland City Council to account."

"SFT has become the driving force in Sunderland politics, and I am pleased to hand over the reigns of this extremely well-oiled vehicle to my successor. We have already completed various investigations, some still ongoing, and I also look forward to my successor taking on the vital role of managing these operations on a day-to-day basis."

Sunderland For Transparency has unveiled Tony Morrow as the new Chairman and Operational Manager of the new SFT Association. Mr Morrow said "We have to thank Chris for all the work he has done whilst Managing Director- we really wouldn't be in the position we are today without both his technical knowledge and passion for the cause, both of which we are exceptionally grateful for."

"The work he personally did resulted in the exposure of many high-profile scandals, and the success of several investigations. We thank him for his service not only to SFT but also to this city and the people of this city, and we wish him the very best in all his future ventures wherever they may take him. Sunderland For Transparency will continue to operate in the same ways and means, and we will continue to scrutinise Sunderland Council."