The Lord Glendonbrook, Sir Michael Bishop CBE

The Lord Glendonbrook, Sir Michael Bishop, CBE (born 10 February 1942) is a British businessman and life peer, who has spent his working life in civil aviation. Lord Glendonbrook, took up his seat in the House of Lords as a Conservative peer in March 2011.

Michael Bishop was born in Bowdon, Greater Manchester, then part of Cheshire and next to Manchester Airport. The son of a factory boss, aged six he was given a pleasure flight, and in 1949 his parents took him on an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin in search of chocolate, a rarity in post-war and rationed Manchester.

Educated at the independent Mill Hill School in north London, he enjoyed flying and resultantly took a series of school holiday jobs with an aerial photographer. 

In 1963 Bishop joined the ground handling operation of Manchester based schedule and charter airline Mercury Airlines, whose were taken over by British Midland Airways in October 1964. Bishop joined British Midland, and rose to become General Manager of the airline in 1969, and Managing Director in 1972.

In 1978, the London-based Minster Assets investment group which owned British Midland decided to sell its stake. With the help of an entrepreneurial Californian dentist, Bishop raised £2.5million to lead the management buy-out, and was resultantly appointed Chairman: “I had to borrow the money from an American citizen. Most venture capitalists want a return of 40% to make up for all their other failures and they want an exit strategy.” Since 1969, he has been the key driving force behind the steady growth of the airline, which now holds a significant 21% share of the landing and take-off slots at London Heathrow airport (second only to British Airways), with a route network spanning Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

In October 2008, in a deal agreed in 1999 as part of the package for bmi to join the Star Alliance, Bishop agreed to sell his 50% stake to Lufthansa.

Between 1991 and 1993, Bishop was deputy chairman of Channel 4 television, becoming chairman from 1993 to 1997.  He was also a board member at Sir Nigel Rudd’s Williams PLC, and deputy chairman at Airtours.

In 1986 he was awarded the CBE, and in 1991 he was knighted. He was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Leicester on Thursday 12 July, 2007.

A member of the Conservative Party since the age of 17, he is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company – which performs the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan – due to his personal financial sponsorship.