Sir Michael Bishop

Michael David Bishop, Baron Glendonbrook CBE (b. 1942) is the businessman who rose to prominence as the driving force behind and subsequent owner of the airline BMI.

Michael was born in Bowdon, Greater Manchester, the son of a factory boss. His home was close to Manchester Airport, and he took an interest in flying which led to school holiday jobs with an aerial photographer. In 1963, Michael joined the ground handling operation of Manchester-based Mercury Airlines, a schedule and charter airline, which was taken over by British Midland Airways (later re-branded as BMI) a year later. He joined British Midland, rising to become the airline’s General Manager in 1969 and its Managing Director in 1972. Under his direction, BMI saw steady growth that put it second only to British Airways in the number of landing and take-off slots held by the airline at Heathrow airport.

In 1978, London-based investment group Minster Assets decided to sell its majority stake in British Midland, and Michael led a successful management buy-out which resulted in him being appointed chairman. He held a controlling 50% + 1 share, with the next highest stake held by Lufthansa, and SAS Airlines holding the smaller balance. In 2008, Michael agreed to sell his stake under a deal agreed with Lufthansa as part of a package for BMI to join the Star Alliance, with reports valuing the sum involved at £318m.

Michael’s other notable roles include deputy chairman of Channel 4 television from 1991–1993, followed by chairman from 1993–1997. In 1986, Michael was awarded the CBE, and in 1991 he was knighted. In 2011 he was created a life peer as Baron Glendonbrook of Bowdon in the County of Cheshire.

He was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 1999.