Manchester Growth Company

Group CEO


Following competitive tender, Warren Partners were awarded the search to find the Group CEO for the Manchester Growth Company (MGC). The MGC was created to drive forward Greater Manchester’s (GM) economic development and deliver GMs strategic priorities in relation to employment, skills, business support, inward investment, international marketing, the visitor economy, policy development and research. The Company Group comprises already existing companies: Economic Solutions Ltd (the parent company) - delivering over £60M of skills, employment and recruitment services to employers and individuals; Marketing Manchester – a centre of excellence for marketing, communications and tourism; MIDAS - the city’s inward investment agency; and New Economy - the economic think tank. The Group acts as a key delivery vehicle for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Local Enterprise partnership (LEP).

This was/is an exceptionally high-profile role, being active in implementing the business growth objectives of the GM strategy, helping to realise the aspirations from the recent Heseltine Review and playing a pivotal role in delivering the challenging City Deal agenda including realising the aspirations of City Deal 2. The appointee would be a key member of the wider leadership team, playing their part in shaping the future of one of the world’s leading cities.

“An extensive, UK national search culminated in the presentation of a shortlist of four candidates – three of which were considered to be appointable by the section panel.”


This was / is a hugely challenging and complex brief involving a significantly-sized stakeholder landscape within the GMCA, GM Chamber of Commerce, Manchester Solutions, Marketing Manchester, New Economy, the GM LEP, Business Leadership Council, UKTI and the Central Government department, BIS.

Not only were Warren Partners looking for a blend of senior executive leadership, commercial, financial and organisational skills, suitable individuals needed to have operated collaboratively and effectively within a complex stakeholder matrix. Additionally, candidates required an empathy and understanding of having either operated within the public sector and/or the commercial interface between public and private sectors in addition to understanding the unique qualities of the GM region; the need to demonstrate an appreciation of the value of diversity - reflecting Manchester’s diverse community within the organisation itself – was also essential.


An extensive, UK national search culminated in the presentation of a shortlist of four candidates – three of which were considered to be appointable by the section panel. Mark Hughes MBE, the last Chief Executive of the (then) Northwest Regional Development Agency, was named as Group CEO.

Michael Oglesby CBE, Chairman of Bruntwood Group and (then) Joint Chairman of the MGC said at the time of Mark’s appointment: “Mark’s broad experience of working with businesses in the North West made him the clear choice for this position. Manchester has ambitious plans for growth over the next few years and Mark’s role will be to take a lead in achieving this. He will be an excellent addition to GM’s wider leadership team.”

Our team operates across a broad range of sectors, with a depth of market expertise in the major sectors listed below: