The Championship club offered McLeish the chance to return to management after his unsuccessful spell at Aston Villa, but the Scot felt he needed a break from the game.
At that point Forest turned to Sean O'Driscoll, who was sacked despite a 4-2 Boxing Day victory over Leeds. That saw the club move within one point of the play-off places, but it appears that the club's owners, the Kuwaiti Al-Hasawi family, have finally got their man.
"I was sounded out in the summer, not directly by Forest, but an agent asked me, and I said no, I was going to take a break from the game," McLeish said.
"And I seriously had to do that. I wanted to get a holiday, because we didn't get one that season or the year before - get a bit of Vitamin D back in the body, recharge the batteries.
"I think most people in life would understand that."
McLeish won promotion to the Premier League at Birmingham City before suffering relegation at St. Andrews.