Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sir Howard Bernstein - his legacy for Manchester is to push forgreatness

None of us can be surprised at the news this morning that Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester Cty Council, is to retire. But it is still a shock. There was always going to be a post-Howard era. 

Howard has made an incalculable contribution to Manchester over a lifetime of public service. He has constantly driven the city to be more ambitious, to think globally and as a result we have a city that is the envy of others around the world.

He has pioneered a particular way of doing business in Manchester that prides unity and ambition over everything else. His ability to bring together and inspire disparate groups of businesses, politicians and officials to find a common purpose has directly contributed to the culture of success.

But he would never want his own professional legacy to be a festival of black slapping, but to continue pushing the ambitions of the city still further. The constant building work, the improvements to infrastructure like Metrolink remind you that Manchester is a work in progress, and is never finished. In fact, Manchester is finished when people think it's "job done". 

In my time as a journalist, in business and now at Manchester Metropolitan University he has always been incredibly supportive. He has always demonstrated that same encouragement and forceful ambition that informs our strategy to be a great institution in a great city. He makes himself available and works tremendously hard to make the city better. I have so many Howard stories from over the years that remind us all of what a character he is as well as a organisational force of nature. 

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