Bruntwood has announced the death of its founder Michael Oglesby, who passed away peacefully surrounded by his close family at the age of 80. He is survived by his wife Jean and children Chris and Kate.
Oglesby senior leaves a considerable legacy of business and philanthropic achievement, having founded Bruntwood in 1970 and built it into a widely respected property company that has evolved at each turn of the property cycle. He was awarded the CBE in the January 2011 honours list for his services to industry and charity.
Michael Oglesby was born in 1939 in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire and, after receiving a degree in building at Aston University, spent his early working years in the construction industry before moving to Manchester in 1970.
Over 40 years he grew Bruntwood into a key regional property player. The company now owns in excess of 120 buildings in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, comprising approximately 8.8m sq ft with a value in excess of £1bn. In Manchester city centre, Bruntwood owns approximately 20% of the commercial office space.
He was married for over 50 years and lived in Bowdon. The importance of the family was always one of his core beliefs and founded the family stability charity FASTN. His son Chris succeeded him as chief executive of Bruntwood in 1998, while Kate also works in a senior role at Bruntwood, and has recently taken over as chair of the Oglesby Charitable Trust.
A strong believer in both personal and business philanthropy, since 1999, Mr Oglesby devoted the majority of his time to a broad portfolio of activities which cover the arts, civic roles, health and education. With his wife Jean he established OCT in 2000. It supports a variety of organisations in education, medical research, the arts and social inequalities and has become one of the North’s major charitable giving organisations. To date it has donated in excess of £16m to more than 300 charities.
Among the many paying tribute include Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, who said: “Michael Oglesby was a real friend of Manchester and someone who made a deep and lasting contribution to the city on a number of fronts. He played a remarkable role in making the city what it is today.
“Not only have Bruntwood, the company he founded, played an important role in the ongoing regeneration of the city – creating jobs, homes and opportunities and supporting many of the city’s strategic priorities – but they have continued to support and invest in innovation.
“Michael’s philanthropic contribution to the city was huge, with passionate support for various charities, causes and cultural institutions and investment in our young people through the Oglesby Foundation. This contribution was not just through money but also the enormous amount of time and energy he gave to the projects he was involved in. Michael was someone whose love of, and ambition for, the city was reflected in his philanthropy. He will be sadly missed but his legacy will endure.”
Oglesby’s list of business and civic accomplishments and roles is impressive. He served as chairman of the steering board for the Manchester Cancer Research Centre and sat on the Manchester LEP board and the global leadership board for the University of Manchester. He was a vice-president of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and, as a Feoffee of Chetham’s School of Music, led the team responsible for building the new School of Music in Manchester. He was also an ambassador for the Woodland Trust.
A past chairman of the board of governors of the Royal Northern College of Music, MIDAS, responsible for Inward Investment in Manchester, and the Carol Concert Committee of the CLIC Sargent Children’s Cancer Charity, he also sat on the board of the North West Business Leadership Team and the High Sheriff’s Police Trust.
In 2006 Oglesby was voted Businessman of the Year in the North West by the CBI and in May 2006 he received an honorary law doctorate from the University of Manchester. In June 2007 Aston University bestowed an honorary doctorate in Science upon him and in November 2007 the Royal Northern College of Music also conferred an honorary degree upon him. HRH The Prince of Wales presented his Medal for Arts Philanthropy to Michael, and his wife Jean, in November 2011.
From April 2007 to April 2008 he served as high sheriff of Greater Manchester. From May 2009 to June 2014 he was vice lord lieutenant of Greater Manchester. He retired in 2014 having serviced his full term of office.