EMBATTLED Council of the Isles of Scilly chief executive Philip Hygate has taken early retirement with immediate effect.
He was suspended in October in what was described as a 'neutral act' while an investigation into his conduct was carried out.
A statement just released by the Scilly council reads: "Philip Hygate, the chief executive of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, announced today that he will be taking early retirement with effect from 10 January 2013.
"Mr Hygate has been chief executive since January 1992, a period of 21 years, making him one of the longest-serving Local Authority Chief Executives in the country.
"During Mr Hygate's tenure as chief executive, the council went through a period of significant modernisation and investment, particularly in respect of education, economic development and infrastructure.
"The Chairman of the Council, Councillor Mike Hicks, thanked Mr Hygate for his long service to the council and community and wished him well in the future."
Mr Hygate, said: "It has been a privilege to be part of such a special place and to have contributed to securing its well-being and potential. I wish Scilly the best for the future."