Cuba’s first prime minister in more than four decades — long-serving tourism minister Manuel Marrero took office Saturday as the country resurrected a post last held by Fidel Castro.

The appointment of Marrero, 56, as head of government is part of a process of decentralization and generational change from the revolutionary old guard that is aimed at extending and protecting Communist Party rule.

“This proposal was duly approved by the political bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel said while presenting it to the country’s National Assembly, which unanimously signed off.

Marrero served as tourism minister from 2004, late in revolutionary hero Fidel Castro’s administration, continuing in the post under Fidel’s brother Raul and the current president, Diaz-Canel.

He began his career in government in 1999 as vice president of the powerful Gaviota Hotel Group belonging to the armed forces, becoming its president a year later — a post he held until 2004.

The position of prime minister was last held by Fidel Castro in 1976.

But the post was abolished when Castro transitioned to the presidency, taking over from Osvaldo Dorticos after the country’s constitution was restructured.

However, critics said that any such changes are purely cosmetic as the Cuban Communist Party and the military remain the only two real decision-making institutions on the island

(With inputs from agency)