Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance

Chief resilience officer appointed by Mayor Andy Burnham to help Greater Manchester meet its toughes

GREATER Manchester is to benefit from its first ever Chief Resilience Officer, who has been announced as Dr Kathy Oldham, OBE.

The position has been created in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, whose grant support will fund the role. Kathy is head of Greater Manchester’s Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit and played a vital role in securing the city region’s successful bid to join the 100 Resilient Cities network in 2016.

As Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), Kathy will work with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and leaders across the private and public sectors to find solutions to the modern challenges the city region faces – from climate change, poverty and homelessness, to flooding and life-threatening emergencies.

“When we talk about resilience, we often think about disasters and emergency response but it’s actually about much more than that,” said Kathy, who has over 20 years’ experience of transforming services to become award-winning centres of excellence.

“Resilience is a key principle that underpins many issues across Greater Manchester and I am honoured to become the city region's first Chief Resilience Officer and begin work with the Combined Authority, The Mayor, residents, businesses and our academic partners on a strategic action plan for resilience across this varied remit.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "Greater Manchester is the most exciting city region in the UK – diverse, vibrant and always looking to the future. It's a place where we have shown how we can come together and show great strength and compassion in times of difficulty and challenge – particularly following the Manchester Arena Attack but also events such as the Boxing Day floods in 2015. 

“We are really privileged to be part of the 100RC network – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, which has provided funding for this post and provides technical support for the development of our Resilience Strategy.

“I am thrilled to have Kathy on board as our first ever Chief Resilience Officer and look forward to working with her, leaders across Greater Manchester and the diverse organisations and communities that make up our city region to ensure we can maximize innovation and reduce the risk and impact of unforeseen events.”

100RC is a $164M (USD) commitment by The Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. Appointing a CRO is an essential element of Greater Manchester’s resilience building partnership with 100RC and under Kathy’s leadership, the city region is poised to take the next step in its resilience planning. 

“Dr Kathy Oldham joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “Kathy will become a global leader in resilience and will be an asset for Greater Manchester and other cities around the world.”

Kathy led Greater Manchester’s participation in the United Nation’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign in which the city region was recognised as one of only 54 role models worldwide. This led to a successful bid for Greater Manchester to become part of the 100RC network, joining cities like London, New York, Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro.

Kathy, a qualified doctor, has received national awards for business continuity planning together with her role in planning for the Olympic Games in 2012.

In 2011 she led the transformation of the way in which disaster risk reduction is delivered across Greater Manchester through the design and creation of the Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit, which ensures the 10 local authorities always have access to disaster management expertise.

Previously she has managed a wide range of local government services including Manchester’s historic civic buildings, heading up facilities management services for the Town Hall complex, and managing diverse services across Manchester’s public housing stock.

She was awarded an OBE in the 2017 Queen’s birthday honours for services to local government and also directs the work of the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum (GMRF) – a partnership that brings together over 100 stakeholders across public, private, academic, voluntary and community sectors.

Kathy added: “This is an incredible opportunity for Greater Manchester to work with other cities across the world to find new solutions to some of the challenges the 21st century will bring, such as air quality, cyber-attacks and growing resistance to antibiotics.

“I am extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to serve the communities of our city region, to continue to work with leaders across all sectors who are driving forward the transformation and resilience of Greater Manchester and to play an ongoing part in the exciting journey of our city.”


About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation

100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit:

If you would like to speak to Kathy, or for further information, please contact the GMCA Communications and Engagement Team on 0161 608 4092.

Article Published: 13/12/2018 21:57 PM