Howard Bernstein

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Sir Howard Bernstein
Howard Bernstein at MIPIM 2012.
Chief executive
for Manchester City Council
In office
1998 – 31 March 2017
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Succeeded byJoanne Roney
Personal details
Born (1953-04-09) 9 April 1953 (age 70)

Sir Howard Bernstein (born 9 April 1953) was the Chief executive of Manchester City Council at Manchester Town Hall from 1998 to 2017. Originally joining the Council as a junior clerk, he became the Chief executive in 1998, responsible for setting development goals and encouraging investment in the city. He is Honorary Professor of Politics at The University of Manchester.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bernstein is Jewish. He was born in Cheetham Hill and attended the Ducie High School.[2]


Before appointment as Chief executive, Bernstein championed the Manchester Metrolink system. The system became the first light-rail network to be built in a British city for over a century when it opened in the early 1990s.[3]

Bernstein has also supported the creation of new areas and buildings such as the Bridgewater Hall, the Manchester Velodrome, the Manchester Arena, the City of Manchester Stadium and the Sportcity district in east Manchester which is still growing. He was involved in the establishment of the Manchester Airports Group in the mid-1980s and has driven the expansion of the company. The Group is now the largest British owned airports group in the UK, owning four airports.

Bernstein's appointment followed the 1996 Manchester bombing which severely damaged much of the city centre and extensive reconstruction ensued. Following the terrorist bombing of the City Centre in 1996, he was appointed Chief executive of Manchester Millennium Limited, the public/private sector Task Force set up by the Government and the City Council to oversee the redesign and rebuilding of the City Centre, a task which successfully delivered areas such as Piccadilly Gardens, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, Urbis on time and on budget.[4]

In 2003, Manchester City Council under Bernstein's civic leadership won the RIBA Client of the Year for various projects such the City of Manchester Stadium and Urbis – the only time a local government authority has won the award.[5]

He was reckoned by the Health Service Journal to be the 21st most influential person in the English NHS in 2015 as a result of his central involvement in the reform of Healthcare in Greater Manchester.[6] In March 2016 he was appointed the leader of the Greater Manchester Sustainability and transformation plan footprint.[7] Later the same year, he announced his intention to retire in Spring 2017,[8] his final day was 31 March 2017.[9] He was succeeded by Joanne Roney in April 2017.[10] He was made Honorary Professor of Politics at The University of Manchester on 3 April 2017.[11]

In 2017, Bernstein was appointed Strategic Development Advisor at City Football Group, Manchester City F.C.'s parent company.[12]


Bernstein has a number of honorary degrees, including UMIST in 2003, University of Manchester in 2004, Manchester Metropolitan University in 2005. Sir Howard was knighted for his services to Manchester in the 2003 New Years Honours List following the successful hosting of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.[13]

He was a member of the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body responsible for the delivery of venues in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He is president of Lancashire County Cricket Club[14] and one of six honorary presidents of Manchester City F.C.[15] Bernstein is a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council.[16]


  1. ^ "Sir Howard Bernstein accepts honorary professorship of politics at The University of Manchester".
  2. ^ "The secret negotiations to restore Manchester to greatness | Simon Jenkins". the Guardian. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  3. ^ "The voice of authority: five minutes with Sir Howard Bernstein". The Guardian. 9 November 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Sir Howard Bernstein". Policy Review. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Manchester City Council". Architects Journal. 27 November 2003. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  6. ^ "HSJ100 2015". Health Service Journal. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Leaders named for eight major STP patches". Health Service Journal. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  8. ^ Williams, Jennifer (15 September 2016). "Sir Howard Bernstein to stand down as chief executive of Manchester council after 45 years at town hall". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  9. ^ Bernstein, Howard (guest); Warhurst, Nina (presenter) (31 March 2017). "Interview with Howard Bernstein". BBC North West Tonight. Event occurs at 18.30. BBC North West.
  10. ^ Clarence-Smith, Louisa (16 January 2017). "Joanne Roney: Manchester City Council's new chief executive". Estates Gazette. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Sir Howard Bernstein accepts honorary professorship of politics at The University of Manchester".
  12. ^ "Sir Howard Bernstein appointed Strategic Development Advisor".
  13. ^ "Sport's New Year Honours". BBC News. 31 December 2002. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Paul Allott: Former bowler to leave Lancashire director of cricket role - BBC Sport". BBC Sport.
  15. ^ "Manchester City – Corporate Information". Manchester City F.C. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Vice Presidents". Jewish Leadership Council. Retrieved 2 September 2019.

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