Michael graduated from Leeds University in Maths and Philosophy in 1968. He worked in the food industry in quality control before going to Bradford University Management Centre to study for a Masters Degree. There he became interested in local government and joined a small research unit which was looking at the reorganisation of local government which was due to happen in 1974. In that year he joined Leeds City Council where he held a number of increasingly senior management positions, including working as assistant to the Chief Executive. In 1984 he became Chief Executive and County Treasurer of Powys County Council in Wales and took up the post of Chief Executive of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council in 1990. Tameside Council achieved excellent status in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment. He left Tameside in 2003 to take up the post of Director of Local Government Practice (North West) for (then) ODPM. This was concerned with improvement and performance across local government in the Region. Since leaving that post in late 2006, Michael has been Chairman of Stockport PCT.
He is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant. He has been a Director of Manchester Training and Enterprise Council, Manchester Enterprises and the Hallé Concerts Society. He was also a Governor of Tameside College of Further Education and a non-executive director of Tameside & Glossop Acute NHS Trust.
Michael was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 2007.