Mark joined Redfern Travel when it was a company in transition from a traditional business travel turning over approx £8m with 27 employees. The company now has a turnover of £250m with a forecast PBT for the current year of £3.4m and has 100 employees. Mark and his team were the first in the country to commoditise travel to enable companies to control their travel policy and book all their travel requirements through the Redfern Travel portal with virtually no human intervention. The portal manages a transaction every 3 seconds and concludes 26,500 transactions pa per member of staff against an industry average of 3,500. In 2011 the company won a contract to manage the online and domestic travel requirements for 10 Government Departments, the largest contract ever awarded to an SME. Over the last few years the turnover has grown from £42m to £250m and in July 2014 Mark led the management team in a successful MBO.
After graduating from Liverpool University with a degree in Computer Science and Business Studies, Mark started his career with NCR selling computers to the financial sector. After 3 years of excellent training he decided to broaden his skillset within a smaller company and in 1990 joined Visualfiles. In 1992 Mark was made Northern Area Sales Manager and then Sales Director in 1993. In 1996 Mark became Managing Director keeping responsibility for sales, but adding customer services, finance and HR. Mark’s skills include motivation, contract negotiation, sales, presentations and organisation. In 2006 Mark lead the sale of the business for in excess of £20m working very closely with financial and legal advisors to maximise value for the shareholders. After the sale, Mark became a member of the UK Lexis Nexis Management Board. Since leaving in 2008, Mark has invested in 3 new businesses and is now the Commercial Director of Earthmill Limited and a Non Executive Director of 2 other businesses.
Martin Penny co-founded Good Hair Day (ghd) in 2001 purchasing the rights to hair straightening irons from a South Korean inventor. By the end of the second year revenues stood at £12million against the forecast of £3/4million; Martin spearheaded the growth of the business, including expansion with a range of hair care products, to achieve a £37million turnover within 3 years and by Year 10 had grown the business to £146mllion turnover and was named in the Sunday Times Fast Track as the 'Fastest Growing Company'. Today he is Managing Director and Chairman of environmental consultants OHS Ltd and recently launched Jack French Handbags Limited.
Founded Masternaut in 2002 as a pioneering technology business specialising in vehicle telematics and mobile software solutions. Masternaut was one of the first companies to offer ‘software as a service.Masternaut grew to become one of the UK’s fastest growing technology businesses, and had places in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2008, Martin was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Technology and Communications. By 2009 the company had reached a turnover of £25m when it was sold to Aéroports de Paris, Europe’s second largest airports operator. Martin was also involved in the combination of Europe’s leading telematics players, Masternaut and Cybit in 2011. Martin started Big Change Limited in October 2011 and has achieved 300% pa growth since then. Big Change Limited plans, manages and schedules a company’s transport needs and turned over £3m in 2016.
Having spent 15 years with Lyons working his way through the sales organisation to the position of National Account Manager He was head hunted by Sara Lee Bakery to build a retail business alongside their successful food service business worth £4.5 million. From virtually nothing he built the retail business to a profitable £45 million per annum in a five year period where he put in the support structure for a dynamic growing business. He then went on to work for twenty years for a $5 billion US corporation operating globally where he ran Sales & Marketing in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He had general management experience with P&L responsibility on several projects and also led a European acquisition and the integration of several others as part of a team. Michael has a Degree in International Business gained at the University of South Carolina. Today Michael is a business “angel” for five businesses where his expertise is analysing a business and recommending (or implementing) a profitable growth plan through a Growth Readiness programme which he has used and developed over many years. Michael believes that the same business techniques are applicable to all sizes of business big or small.
Michael Hughes is the CEO of Hesco Bastion which is one of Leeds' most famous companies. It was founded in 1991 by Jimi Heselden OBE it's main products are the Concertainer barrier systems which were used to create Camp Bastion which was the Uk's biggest base in Iraq. Subsequent to Jimi’s death in 2010 Michael, who is a chartered accountant, came to help the family run the business initially for a few days pw then full time, becoming CEO on 2013.
At about this time the UK and the US started to withdrew from Iraq and the demand from Hesco's 2 biggest customers, the UK and the US military, declined rapidly. Turnover fell from £120m to £23m and a drastic rationalisation plan was implemented which led to a more than 50% reduction in the workforce. Since then the company has invested in new products and sought new markets such as oil and gas and is moving its business into new area which are less hostile environments than their traditional markets. The turnover has increased to £60m and the company has been recruiting new staff for the last few years. It still exports 98% of its products.