George Osborne's announcement that £800 million of Chinese investment would get behind Manchester's 'Airport City' project was shaken by the surprise departure of the project's director, Karen Campbell.
Campbell's departure from her post at the head of Britain's largest construction project was reported just hours after the Chancellor confirmed Chinese firm Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) would be working on the extension to Manchester Airport.
The project is set to create over 16,000 jobs in the area and pave the way for direct flights to the city from China.
Campbell resigned from her post citing "health and personal reasons", less than eight months after being appointed, Estates Gazette reported..
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The investment from BCEG, alongside Manchester Airport Group (MAG), Carillon and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund is set to secure five million square feet of business space, which will host manufacturing, warehousing, hotels, retail and leisure ventures.
Speaking during an official visit to China on Monday, the Chancellor said: “I am delighted to announce on the first day of my visit to China that joint British-Chinese partners have won the contract to develop Manchester’s Airport City.
"As an MP representing a nearby seat I welcome the new jobs and the opportunities for local businesses that Airport City will create.”
A MAG Property spokesman said: “Since joining us, Karen has significantly contributed to the development and promotion of Airport City, working closely with our customers and partners.
“In the interim, John Atkins, MAG’s Property Director, will assume Karen’s Airport City responsibilities.”
Osborne also urged Brits to stop viewing Chinese industry as a "sweatshop", praising the country for being "right at the forefront of medicine and high-tech and computing and high-tech engineering and all of that."