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Bruntwood boss talks Cities, Devolution & The Commonwealth Games

The chief executive of property giant Bruntwood addressed a room of Birmingham business leaders at the latest Downtown in Business breakfast forum at Unique Venues.

Chris Oglesby, in conversation with Frank McKenna, spoke about the Bruntwood journey, highlighting the businesses focus on customer service, brand, and innovation.

He also reflected on the importance of collaboration, not only with public sector partners, which led to Bruntwood sponsoring the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002, but with competitors too.

“You will work with other companies within the sector to suggest development sites, investment opportunities and regeneration projects. When they come along, you will then have to compete to win them – but you have to have projects in place to win.”

The property entrepreneur added that “putting something back” into the cities where Bruntwood operates was vital.

“Again, for both philanthropic and commercial reasons it makes sense for us to support arts, culture, sport and the environment in which we operate. We always want to create a sense of place and ensure that where we are there is an attractive, growing and thriving community.”

Oglesby outlined his enthusiasm for devolution, the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse, and he backed calls for more powers to mayors like Andy Street and Andy Burnham.

“In crucial areas of policy, skills and training, transport and connectivity, we are better equipped to tackle the challenges that we face at a regional level”

On Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games plans Oglesby commented:

“I am sure the city will put on a great games. But the legacy needs to be clear now so that the benefit of hosting such a major international event is maximised. In Manchester, we had a business club, a fabulous volunteering scheme, and the city has become a genuine hub for sport and the business of sport.

“There is no reason why Birmingham can’t achieve similar success, although I would say that, as someone who has invested here, and is excited about this city’s future, Brummies’ need to be a bit more confident about the place, and shout about what is going on here. Birmingham has a lot going on, and it should be shouting that from the roof tops.

Downtown in Business