The directly elected mayor model of governance is long established in many countries – for example, the USA and Japan. However, in some countries the model is fairly new. For example, in the UK there were no directly elected mayors until 2000 – that year the citizens of Greater London elected the first ever UK directly elected political executive. Since then the UK debate about whether or not directly elected mayors provide a good vehicle for local democratic leadership has tended to be conflicted and relatively fiery. Written at the invitation of the editors of Public Money and Management, this short Opinion article aims to encourage more research on various mayoral models. It identifies some research questions that should be addressed.