Martin McCourt

Martin McCourt

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Former CEO, Dyson

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As Chief Executive of Dyson, Martin transformed it from a niche manufacturer to a £1bn global brand, moving production to Asia. Even after the onset of recession, he doubled turnover and trebled profits - increasing sales in 70 markets. Now in private equity Martin argues we must use our inventiveness rather than try to compete with China on their terms. But with 40,000 unfilled skilled jobs, UK industry needs to work much more closely with educators.


Martin McCourt has worked for some of the biggest consumer brands for over 40 years. As CEO of Dyson for 15 years, he led the business from niche vacuum cleaner maker to a global brand with an extensive product line. Working closely with James Dyson, Martin devised and implemented a strategy that transformed the company and allowed James the freedom to focus on inventing products. His work saw Martin named as Orange UK Business Leader of the Year.

Having worked in sales and marketing for brands including Duracell, Toshiba and Mars, Martin was drafted in by James Dyson to expand the company and drive it towards market dominance. He was given control of the commercial side of the business leaving James to focus on the design, engineering and innovation aspects. Alongside a new brand strategy, Martin transferred manufacturing to Asia whilst increasing skilled jobs in the UK, and expanded into new global markets. On his departure, Dyson revenue had exceeded £1bn and the business was a brand leader around the world drawing 80% of its income from over 60 worldwide markets and with operations in the US, Japan and Germany.

With his extensive experience in manufacturing, design and marketing Martin went on to advise a private equity group and chair the market leader in vehicle valuation data and new vehicle information. He then chaired CliniSys Group, the European clinical laboratory information management system provider, and DORC, a leader in innovative instruments and equipment for ophthalmic surgery. He is on the board of Your Life, Ideas Britain, and Headbox, all cutting edge organisations aimed to encouraging young people to create, invent, collaborate and embrace science and business. He is also Chair of the venture capital firm Dudson Group, electronics manufacturer Glen Dimplex and the training providers Learning Curve Group.

Martin explores the importance of innovation, the role of leadership, and the differences (and similarities) between large and small businesses in a passionate, humorous and insightful presentation. He looks at growing a business in challenging times, expanding overseas, and the importance of manufacturing and export to the UK economy.

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