Obituary: Mike Oglesby
22 Nov 2019
Dr Mike Oglesby CBE 1939-2019
It was with great sadness that we learnt of Mike’s death. He was a truly remarkable individual who achieved an incredible amount in his life and touched the hearts of so many people - particularly in the Manchester City region. Our thoughts are with Jean, Chris, Kate and the wider family at this difficult time.
Mike is perhaps best known as the founder of Bruntwood, a highly successful property development company, now with properties valued at over £1 billion, many of which are in Manchester. In his business leadership, as in so many aspects of his life, Mike was inspirational. In addition to his sharp intellect and proven business acumen, he has always been committed to building an ‘ethical business’ that cared about its people and the environment and gave back so much to local people.
The contributions that Mike made to our City region are just too many to list but include, chair or member of MIDAS (the inward investment arm of the region), the Royal Northern College of Music, Chetham’s School of Music, the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and many more. He was High Sheriff for Greater Manchester, won North-West Businessman of the Year and was awarded a CBE in 2011 for his services to industry and charity. Mike and his family, through their family trust, donated very generously to the arts, health, education and social inequality.
Most notable for us was Mike’s enormous contribution to our University. He was generous not only in his financial support but in giving so much of his time to us. He had been chair of our Manchester Cancer Research Centre since its inception in 2006 and was a member of our Global Leadership Board. More recently, (indeed until just before his death), Mike was on the Board overseeing the development of the new cancer research building which will replace the Paterson Building which was badly damaged by fire.
Recently we renamed our Manchester Cancer Research Building ‘The Oglesby Cancer Research Building’ in his honour and in recognition of his tireless support and dedication to the development of cancer research in Manchester. His insight as a cancer patient, and indeed for many years as a cancer survivor, was powerful and invaluable. It was wonderful that Mike and his family – who have always been closely involved in all of his activities - attended that event. At the launch he said: "This is my future", while pointing to his family, who all nodded firmly!
In 2006 we awarded Mike an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contributions to our University and he went on to do so much more for, and with us, right up until his death.
Having worked with Mike closely on quite a number of committees and activities, I can attest to his incredible insight and intellect. Woe betide if you weren’t doing as well as he thought you should be. He would tell you with great clarity - but would then always offer to help and would so often deliver a tough message with a twinkle in his eye.
I consider it a great personal privilege to have worked with, and known, Mike. I gained so much from him. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten, and will be held by so many in huge respect and admiration and with great affection.
Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester