M J Gleeson

M J Gleeson Group plc founded in 1903 specialises in urban regeneration and land development. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and has public facing divisions, Gleeson Homes and Gleeson Strategic Land.

M J Gleeson
Traded asLSE: GLE
HeadquartersSheffield, South Yorkshire
Key people
Dermot Gleeson, (Chairman)
Stefan Allanson, (CFO)
Revenue£160.4 million (2017)[1]
£33.0 million (2017)[1]
£26.5 million (2017)[1]


The business was founded by Michael Joseph Gleeson, the official date given by the company being 1903.[2] Having left his native Galway, Michael Gleeson worked for a small building firm in Sheffield, married the owner’s daughter and effectively took control of the business in 1903. The name of the business was changed to M J Gleeson in 1915.[3]

Michael Gleeson operated as a contractor and a developer in the Sheffield area, and owned cinemas and a racetrack. The firm began taking contracts in southeast England in 1930 and in 1932 Michael sent his nephew John Patrick 'Jack' Gleeson to manage the embryonic housing developments.[3]

Gleeson began with building an estate of some 750 houses in Cheam, followed by smaller estates in Ewell and Sutton, all at the time in Surrey.[4]

During World War II, Gleeson concentrated on the construction of aerodromes for military use, giving it civil engineering capability that was to be its strength after the war. Although the company again undertook housing and property development in 1955, the 1960 flotation stressed civil engineering contracts which included power stations, sewage works and sea defences.[2]

Like his uncle before him, Jack had no sons and brought in his nephew to succeed him; Dermot Gleeson had been working in the political arena and first joined the Board as a non-executive director in 1973; he joined the company full-time in 1979, became deputy managing director in 1981 and chief executive in 1988.[5]

The group had been extending its property holdings and it used the housing recession of 1990 to increase its commitment to private housing. The small quoted company, Colroy, was bought in 1991, followed by the residential business of the Portman Building Society in October 1994.[6]

In 2005, the group made a £18m loss, primarily due to losses in the building division, which was then sold to the management. In March 2006, a strategic review was announced. The civil engineering business would be sold (it was bought by the Black & Veatch) as would peripheral businesses; the investment properties would be put up for sale, and traditional speculative housing replaced by urban regeneration.[7]

By the end of the year, the group was concentrating on urban regeneration, residential property management and land trading. However, substantial losses were again incurred in 2008 and 2009; costs were cut and the geographical focus was narrowed to the north of England.[8]

Following the departure of CEO Jolyon Harrison, appointed in 2012, James Thomson, former CEO of Keepmoat Homes, was appointed chief executive officer on an interim basis in June 2019.[9]


The company has three divisions:[10]

  • Gleeson Regeneration and Homes equally trading as Gleeson Homes (brownfield land in the North of England)
  • Gleeson Strategic Land (options over land in the South of England)

Major projects


  1. "Annual Report 2017" (PDF). M J Gleeson. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  2. Prospectus 1960
  3. Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5,
  4. Alan Jackson, Semi-Detached London, 1973
  5. "Dermot Gleeson". MJ Gleeson. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  6. "Gleeson posts rise but sees margins under pressure". The Independent. 20 October 1994. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  7. Press statement 31 March 2006
  8. Gleeson accounts 2008-11
  9. Morby, Aaron (10 June 2019). "Gleeson boss quits in boardroom pay row". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  10. Group accounts
  11. "Gleeson spurns takeover advance". Yorkshire Post. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
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