Sir Michael is Chairman of the English Cities Fund, which is currently reshaping Rathbone Market in Canning Town, East London, and has other large scale regeneration developments in Plymouth, Salford, Wakefield and Liverpool. He is also Chairman of SQW Ltd, an Innovation and Economic Consultancy, and Non Executive Director of the FTSE250 housebuilder and construction company Redrow plc. He is a strategic adviser on public asset management and regeneration to CBRE and a former Chairman of the BBC Trust.
After studying Economics at University he went on to teach the subject at Nottingham University. He had a distinguished career in public service including 17 years running some of the country's largest local authorities, including Birmingham City Council from 1994 until 2001, and was knighted for services to Local Government in 2001.
Sir Michael led the national "Lyons Inquiry" into the functions and funding of local government (published March 2007) which argued for greater devolution and emphasised the local authority’s role in 'placeshaping'. He led two other significant reviews in 2004 concerning the relocation of government services and the management of public assets. He is a former Deputy Chairman of the Audit Commission (2003 to 2006) and Professor of Public Policy at Birmingham University (2001 to 2006).
He chaired the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for six years and was both a board member and governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Sir Michael was educated at Stratford Grammar School (London), Middlesex University and at Queen Mary College, University of London. He is married with three grown-up children and lives in Birmingham.