Manchester ‘Mbassadors’ Seek To Put Region On The Map

A group of influential figureheads gathered at King Street Townhouse Hotel yesterday evening (Tuesday 26 January) for the launch of Manchester’s Global Ambassador Programme.

Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, part of MGC, introduced the initiative, which will enlist high-profile business leaders and academics as official representatives of Manchester. Selected for the substantial work they’ve already done for city-region, these ambassadors will utilise their strong global networks to advance Manchester’s international profile.

Speakers at the event included Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council and Daniel Gallo, group people strategy director of Manchester Airports Group. Gallo chaired a short panel session where four of the existing ambassadors discussed the opportunities the programme would create.

The panel consisted of:

  • Charlie Cornish, CEO, Manchester Airports Group
  • Cat Lewis, CEO and Exec Producer, Nine Lives Media
  • Ian Kennedy, Vice President, Cisco
  • Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Manchester

The programme will work with each ambassador in a bespoke way to fit around their usual activity and travel, and expand their opportunities to promote the city region internationally. The ambassadors will be equipped with the tools needed to convey messages about Manchester in the media, in meetings and conferences and make business introductions and signpost business leads for the city region.

The areas of focus are currently aligned to Manchester’s three priority sectors: Advanced Manufacturing; Creative, Digital and Tech; and Life Sciences. Each of the ambassadors is uniquely placed to improve Manchester’s international reputation in one or more of these sectors.

The ongoing programme aims to increase the number of ambassadors as it progresses, and will particularly concentrate on recruiting high-profile individuals that have global resonance in priority territories. This activity will integrate with Marketing Manchester’s existing ambassadors who help to promote the business and leisure offer of the city.

The launch coincided with the official unveiling of the Global Ambassador Programme website. For more information on the programme including film interviews with the Ambassadors, visit mbassador.com

Full list of Ambassadors

17 Global Ambassadors have now been confirmed. These are:

  • Professor Brian Cox OBE - Professor of Particle Physics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester; Professor for Public Engagement in Science, The Royal Society; and BBC TV and radio presenter
  • Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov FRS – Langworthy Professor of Physics and the Royal Society Research Professor, The University of Manchester and Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 Nobel Prize winner for work with graphene
  • Dominic Monaghan – Hollywood actor known for roles in Lord of the Rings and TV’s Lost
  • Josh Weinstein – former writer and producer for The Simpsons and Futurama, now working on CBBC comedy Strange Hill High
  • Asha Bhosle - celebrated Bollywood singer and owner of Asha’s restaurant
  • Charlie Cornish - Group Chief Executive, Manchester Airports Group
  • Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell - President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester
  • Brian Smith - Vice President, Mass Spectrometry Operations, Waters Corporation
  • Ian Kennedy - Vice President, Cisco Systems
  • Cat Lewis - CEO and Exec Producer, Nine Lives Media
  • Rosemarie Andolino - CEO and President, Manchester Airports Group US
  • Professor Iain Buchan - Professor of Public Health Informatics, The University of Manchester, Director of the MRC Health eResearch Centre, Co-Director of the UK’s Farr Institute for Health Informatics
  • Professor Martin Gibson - Professor of Diabetes & Metabolic Medicine, Chief Executive, NorthWest EHealth, Director, Greater Manchester NIHR Clinical Research Network, Associate Director, Industry NIHR CCRN, Research and Informatics Director, Greater Manchester AHSN
  • Dr. Tony Bannan - Group Chief Executive Officer, Precision Technologies Group (PTG) Limited
  • David Hunt - Chief Executive, Havas Lynx
  • Wayne Jones - Head of Global After Sales, MAN Diesel & Turbo SE
  • Dr. Ruru Lu - Vice President, BGT Materials Limited

Greater Manchester’s Key Sectors

Greater Manchester is leading the way in a number of key sectors.  Building on its heritage of scientific discovery, the city is going from strength to strength in Life Sciences, Advanced Materials & Manufacturing, and Creative, Digital & Tech.  

Advanced Materials & Manufacturing

Manchester’s heritage in manufacturing extends over many decades, with over 116,000 people now employed in the sector. Today, manufacturing reflects the development and adoption of cutting-edge technologies, with an expanding focus on Advanced Manufacturing and Advanced Materials, such as graphene. With many strengths in the sector, including recognition as the ‘home of graphene’, the city is positioned to become one of the world’s leading centres of excellence for Advanced Manufacturing within the next decade, specifically in the field of Advanced Materials.

Creative, Digital & Tech

Manchester is one of Europe’s most successful creative, digital and tech hubs and the industry is growing faster here than anywhere else in the UK. No other European city has invested into this sector more than Manchester with over £3.5 billion of investment made by both the public and private sector in the last few years to ensure that the industry continues to develop and thrive here.

Life Sciences

As a city of firsts, Manchester is synonymous with medical innovation. Offering low costs and excellent international connectivity, Greater Manchester also boasts a unique health innovation initiative which helps companies gain an important foothold in the National Health Service (NHS). Manchester has Europe’s largest clinical academic campus, and is home to several medical research institutes; Europe’s biggest cancer treatment centre and the largest clinical trials unit in the world.

Greater Manchester is also the first region in the UK to have agreed devolved control over its £6bn healthcare budget, covering a metropolitan population of 2.7 million. As a consequence of these new powers, Manchester will be the first and only British city to integrate primary and social care. This will afford unique opportunities in improving patient outcomes, testing new integrated delivery models, and adopting new systems and technologies.


“The Global Ambassador Programme has been a long-running ambition for Marketing Manchester and so it’s a real pleasure to be able to introduce it to you all tonight.

By enlisting some of Manchester’s most passionate and influential advocates, the programme will allow unique opportunities for encouraging inward investment, stimulating local pride, attracting and retaining talent, and ultimately developing the local economy.

The onus is now on the city-region to make the most of this opportunity to promote ourselves internationally. It’s up to our businesses to ask themselves where they can add value to expanding Manchester’s reach and improving the region’s international profile.”

-       Sheona Southern

Managing Director, Marketing Manchester


“Greater Manchester’s most valuable asset is undoubtedly its people, and so it’s great to have people at the heart of this drive to internationally promote the region’s offer. The Global Ambassador Programme’s carefully selected team of influential professionals is sure to go a long way in showing the world what can be done from Greater Manchester.”

-       Cllr Richard Farnell

Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead for internationalisation and marketing


“Manchester and particularly Greater Manchester is a leader in the life science sector in its broadest sense, and that is from discovery to making a difference to people. We span through from discovering a new gene or a new molecule, to changing the lives of people with cancer”

-       Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

Global Ambassador


“It’s very easy to make very strong business connections in the city that are effective. We can have dialogue with people who can make a difference, and we are in control of our own destiny more so than any other region and ahead of any other region so the things that we do well will absolutely get replicated. We see Manchester in particular as a great home and a great place to be”

-       Ian Kennedy

Global Ambassador


"Though I live in Los Angeles, my heart and brain yearn for Manchester.  That is because it is a real home of creativity, like no other place I have seen in my 25 years in entertainment.  It is not just in its history of the arts and industry (and, of course, its proud role in the history of animation), it's in the people, their awesome spirit of creativity and their collective, but also fiercely independent, senses of humour.  It is no exaggeration to say - and it's probably obvious - this city is my favourite place on Earth and I'm pleased and honoured to be able to share this enthusiasm as a Global Ambassador."

-       Josh Weinstein

Global Ambassador