Sir Michael Lyons (born 1949), is the non-executive chairman of the English Cities Fund and Participle Ltd; he is a former Chairman of the BBC Trust.
He is a former Labour Party councillor and council chief executive in the United Kingdom, who has also been involved in some of the key central government commissions and reports into local government finance from 2000 to 2007.
Michael Lyons was educated at Stratford Grammar School (London), Middlesex University, and at Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London. Whilst completing his formal education, he worked for two years as a part-time street trader at Bell St Market in London. Lyons then worked as a lecturer in economics at the Wallbrook College, London and the University of Nottingham.
Lyons worked as an economist working in the public sector, and between 1980 and 1983 served as an elected Labour councillor on Birmingham City Council. He then became Chief Executive of three significant local authorities: Wolverhampton Borough Council (1985–90); Nottinghamshire County Council (1990–94); and then Birmingham City Council (1994–2001). Lyons was knighted in January 2000 in recognition of his services to Local Government.
During 2004 he was the chairman of two successful government projects: "Review of Public Sector Relocation" on behalf of the Chancellor and Prime Minister, and "Corporate Governance Commission" on behalf of Cardiff City Council. He was also Deputy Chairman of the Audit Commission for two years until October 2006, serving for a while as Acting Chairman. In March 2007 he published his final report and recommendations from his three year independent Inquiry into the future role, function and funding of local government.
Lyons was the Head of Inlogov, the leading Local Government Public Policy school in the United Kingdom at Birmingham University from 2001 to 2006, and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University.
He is a former chairman of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and former member of the boards of City Pride, Birmingham Marketing Partnership and Millennium Point Property Trust Company.
On 1 May 2007, Lyons became Chairman of the BBC Trust, which also carries the title BBC Chairman. He was appointed to the position after Michael Grade left the BBC to become Executive Chairman of rival broadcaster ITV. On 3 August 2007 a House of Lords all-party select committee criticised the way the appointment was handled, saying government ministers had too much influence over his appointment. Lyons dismissed the allegations, pledging "absolute independence and impartiality".
On 14 September 2010 Lyons announced he had written to Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, to explain that he will serve for only one four year term and will not seek reappointment in May 2011. He cited a growing workload for the part-time role had made him anxious which in turn had been "crowding out" other demands on his own time. He was succeeded in May 2011 by Lord Patten of Barnes.