Sir Howard Bernstein: Tributes pour in following death of longtime Manchester City Council chief executive

Tributes have poured in following the death of Sir Howard Bernstein, former longtime chief executive of Manchester City Council and a well-known figure in the city.

Sir Howard passed away today after a period of illness, according to a statement issued by the council.

He was best known as a driving force behind the transformation of modern Manchester, in a civic career that spanned four decades.

Bev Craig, current leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Sir Howard served Manchester with remarkable distinction.

“He will be remembered as a driving force in the city’s turnaround from post-industrial decline to the growing, confident and forward-looking city we see today.”

Born in Cheetham Hill, Sir Howard began his career in public life at Manchester Town Hall in 1971, rising to the role of Chief Executive of Manchester City Council in which he served for 20 years until his retirement in March 2017.

Key achievements over his long career include leading the reconstruction of the city centre after the 1996 IRA bomb incident, and spearheading the 2002 Commonwealth Games project.

He was also instrumental in the development of major projects across the city including Spinningfields, Bridgewater Hall and Metrolink.

An avid supporter of Manchester City FC, Sir Howard served as its Honorary President. The club posted an official tribute on X, praising his “contribution and dedication to the development and regeneration” of the city.

After retiring from public life, he became an Honorary Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester. The university posted on X:

Former chancellor George Osborne, who once described Sir Howard as the ‘star of British local government’ after working with him on the Northern Powerhouse project, posted on X that he was “one of the towering public servants” of the last half-century.

Sir Howard was a longtime Prestwich resident. He was married to Lady Vanessa, and leaves behind two children, two stepchildren and seven grandchildren.

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