Martin Lee – Extended Biography

Martin LeeMartin has accumulated 39 years business experience; having held senior positions in the aerospace industry for 20 years, in the public sector for 9 years and been a successful business owner for the last 10 years.

"Over the course of my aerospace career, I sold new and used aircraft worth over £150M in Europe, Asia and North America. I was Commercial Director of Hatfield Business Airport near London (when it was the fastest growing airport in Europe) and Director of two commercial aircraft maintenance facilities. Between 1996 and 2000, based at Hawarden near Chester, I managed part of Raytheon’s successful £1Bn bid to the RAF for what is now the Sentinel aircraft in RAF service.

Not surprisingly, I was offered a significant promotion, but as this entailed a move to Park Lane, London, I declined for family reasons and left the aircraft industry. Through recommendation from a series of network contacts I then became – somewhat incongruously at first – Deputy Head of Objective One’s Business Development Fund (£750M) in Merseyside working for the Government Office.

Two years later, I was appointed CEO of the newly-formed Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance which at the time consisted of a blank sheet of paper and an empty office. Over the next 8 years the CWEA set up and ran the Tourist Board for Cheshire (I was Chair for 12 months), delivered over £200M of business projects, provided business support and advice to local businesses as well as lobbying regionally and nationally for local projects and initiatives, working with MPs and Peers.

Disney certificationIn 1997, I attended my first Disney-led leadership programme in Florida as part of the Raytheon senior management programme. Using Disney leadership tools and techniques, I led a very successful business turnaround, transforming an aircraft-servicing business into a customer-servicing business (who’s clients owned business jets). This, in turn, enabled the success of our £1Bn bid. One of the 10 reasons the RAF gave in support of its decision to award the contract to Raytheon (rather than Boeing) was the outstanding customer service we had delivered on a £2M contract for the RAF in the previous 2 years."

Quest for Excellence

In 2007, with 10 years’ experience in applying Disney principles to private and public companies, Martin brought a team from the Disney Institute to the UK (for the first time ever) to deliver a Master Class in world class customer service at Bentley Motors. This was so well received that I was asked by business and public sector partners to manage Disney Master Class seminars across the UK in 2007 and 2008. The success of these seminars persuaded me to leave the CWEA, encouraged by Disney, to set up Quest for Excellence UK Ltd., in 2009, with an agreement to directly collaborate with Disney Institute.

From 2009 onwards, Quest for Excellence has demonstrated how Disney’s approach can be effectively applied to businesses in the UK. Initially, we did this by bringing Disney Institute staff over to the UK on a regular basis. We then provided additional support to those businesses to enable them to embed the learning in their senior leadership teams.

"In 2012, I was asked by James Timpson (CEO of the Timpson Group) to develop a series of seminars for his entire leadership team (over 200 staff), based on my understanding of Disney and how to apply this in the UK. This was the start of a new phase in the development of Quest for Excellence, as the seminars we developed specifically for Timpsons were so well received by their staff that they, in turn, highly recommended our seminars to a wide range of business leaders.

For the last 5 years, I was non-executive advisor to the Board of a family business (£40M turnover / 360 staff). I coach and mentor business leaders and I am an advisor to the Rugby League World Cup 2021 on customer service (having trained 750 volunteers for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup). I am also an occasional visiting lecturer at Chester and Wrexham Universities and a Member of the Who’s Who Group of Business Leaders.

Pilot Martin LeeIn my spare time, my wife and I spend as much time as we can with our three grown-up kids, our grandchildren and our parents. I have a Private Pilot’s Licence and own a share in an aircraft based at Manchester Barton Airfield which I fly two or three times a month. We recently sold a house we owned on the Isle of Skye (which we loved visiting) in order to travel more extensively so last year we visited Cyprus, Jersey, Italy, Canada and Alaska - the latter to celebrate 30 years of marriage and my 60th birthday!"