The Lord Mayor, who also chairs the municipal council, is the head of the local government. The Lord Mayor is elected by the citizens of Heilbronn. One term of office lasts eight years.
At the top of the municipal administration, the Lord Mayor is assisted and supported by three senior city executives, namely the First Mayor and two Mayors. Together, they preside over 32 administrative departments and offices, cultural institutions and municipal companies. Apart from that, the Lord Mayor is the chairperson of several supervisory boards of municipal subsidiaries such as SLK-Kliniken Heilbronn GmbH, Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH and Heilbronn Marketing GmbH.
The Lord Mayors who have governed Heilbronn since 1945:
Emil Beutinger (appointed): 1945-1946
Paul Metz (elected by the municipal council): 1946-1948
Paul Meyle (first regular election by the citizens of Heilbronn): 1948-1967
Hans Hoffmann (SPD): 1967-1983
Manfred Weinmann (CDU): 1983-1999
Helmut Himmelsbach (independent): 1999-2014
Elected in March 2014, Harry Mergel took up office as Lord Mayor of Heilbronn in May 2014.