Michael Edwardes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Michael Edwardes
Born (1930-10-11) 11 October 1930 (age 84)
Nationality South African, British
Education Rhodes University
Known for Chairman, British Leyland (1977-82)
For those of a similar name, see Michael Edwards (disambiguation).

Sir Michael Edwardes (born 11 October 1930)[1] is a British-South African business executive.


Edwardes matriculated from St. Andrew's College in 1947 before graduating from Rhodes University. He began his career in 1951 with the Chloride Group. He went on in 1966 to serve as the general manager of Alkaline Batteries, one of the company's subsidiaries.

In 1977 he was appointed as chief executive of the United Kingdom's ailing motor giant, British Leyland, and within two weeks he became chairman as the company's board was 'pruned' from 13 to 7 members.[2] In 1979 he was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours.[3]

The next year, in 1980 he attracted criticism for a speech to the CBI Conference in which he said, "If the Cabinet do not have the wit and imagination to reconcile our industrial needs with the fact of North Sea oil, they would do better to leave the bloody stuff in the ground."[4]

His tenure with British Leyland lasted until 1982, when he was replaced by Harold Musgrove.

In 1984, he became Chairman of ICL, but resigned six months later when the company was acquired by STC.

Edwardes wrote Back from the Brink, a book which discusses his experiences at British Leyland.

He donated over R500,000 to St. Andrew's College in 2005.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Sir Michael Edwardes". Debretts. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "MotorWeek: Surgery for survival". Motor. vol 152: nbr 3919: page 2. 26 November 1977. 
  3. ^ "Newsflashes". Motor. Vol 155 nbr 4002: page 4. 23 June 1979. 
  4. ^ "Back from the Brink" by Michael Edwardes, published Collins 1983 (ISBN 0002170744)

External links[edit]