Michael is the Chief Executive of ABRSM, the UK's largest music education body. Until 2014 he was the Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Prior to this, he was the Director of Culture at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport from 2008 until 2011.
From 2001 to 2008, Michael held the post of the Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and led the consortium of major arts organisations, which made a significant contribution to the City's successful year as European Capital of Culture and its legacy.
In 2006, he was seconded part-time from his post at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to act as Associate Cultural Director of the Liverpool Culture Company, and assist with the planning of the cultural programme for 2008.
In the 1990s, Michael served as Chief Executive of the West Midlands Arts Board and subsequently, of the Heart of England Tourist Board, and led the chief officer groups of the regional agencies in both sectors in their negotiations with national government and agencies. He previously held a number of senior management, policy and research roles in arts funding and development, higher education and the European Parliament.
Michael has previously held a variety of voluntary posts in the arts and education, including Chairman of the Belgrade Theatre (Coventry) Trust, Vice Chairman of the Sheffield Crucible Theatre Trust, and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.
In November 2011, Michael received an honorary Doctorate of the University from Sheffield Hallam University for his contribution to the arts, culture and public service.
Michael was previously the Chair of the University's Board of Governors from 2009 until November 2014. He was appointed as a Pro-Chancellor in 2014.