Martin McCourt: Biography highlights
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.
Full biography of Martin McCourt
“Stimulating, funny, thought-provoking and challenging – the best we’ve had” – BDO LLP
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 was also formerly Chairman of CAP, a market leading provider of vehicle valuation data, new vehicle information and business solutions to the automotive industry, He is on the board of Your Life, Ideas Britain, and Headbox – all cutting edge organisations aimed at encouraging young people to create, invent, collaborate and embrace science and business.
In 2010 Martin was named UK Business Leader of the Year.
His current chair and non-executive positions include
In January 2019 Martin joined the Board of Weber as a Non Executive Director and strategic adviser. Based in Chicago, Weber is the most recognized name in the world for barbecue grills and has the most comprehensive range of products and services in the industry.
In October 2018 Martin was appointment Chairman to FreeFlow Technologies, a dynamic UK start-up, developing a lightweight compact, high performance e-bike drive system that is backed by Williams Applied Engineering and Foresight PE.
Since November 2018 Martin has been Chairman of Lightfoot which was launched in 2013 and is described as the ‘Fitbit for cars’, cutting fuel emmisions and saving money for drivers every time they drive.
Learning Curve Group
Chairman of Learning Curve Group since January 2016 an organization providing vocational education and training programmes to a wide range of learners and employers.
From 2014 he has been a Non-Executive Director and investor for Headbox, a web based platform which enables the sharing of inspiring places for people to have meetings.
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.
Watch Martin in action
Marketing Team Direct
We booked Martin to talk at a Client's internal marketing conference and he was quite simply brilliant. He has an engaging style that finds the perfect balance between being both relaxed and professional. He had the audience's attention from the off and used a mix of media throughout his presentation to keep them interested and amused throughout. The feedback from the audience was excellent, with most citing his speech as a highlight of their 2-day conference. Personally, I found his professional approach refreshing - simple things like being early, relaxed and flexible meant that I had one less thing to worry about on the day. I would most definitely recommend Martin and would be more than happy to use him at future events.'
'He came across very well and in informal conversations I had with many people afterwards, they volunteered that Martin's presentation was one of the highlights. He was informative, engaging and came across well, including some quite good (witty!) responses to some of the questions.'
Ernst & Young
'I would like to say thank you for coming along to our first Fast Growth Network event on Tuesday and lighting up the event with your stories and advice for fast growing businesses. All the feedback we have received has been unequivocally positive about the event and your contribution to it. Our objective was to choose a first class venue and have a first class speaker to kick off the network and our expectations were exceeded. Our challenge now is to try to get close to it again with our second event!'
'Martin's presentation was excellent and we have had a great deal of very positive feedback from a number of people already. He made a big impression and his contribution to our morning was invaluable and helped make it a great success for us so far.'
'Probably the best feedback we have had to date'.
'I think I speak on behalf of all the team here at Deloitte and our guests when I say that Martin was absolutely outstanding - entertaining, inspiring, engaging, humorous - really just everything we were looking for. He made the event special and everyone was talking about him throughout the evening'
Fast Track 250
'In short Martin is one of the best after dinner speakers we have had in 17 years. His storytelling gave our guests the 'take home' nuggets of advice and inspiration that any good business speaker must provide. He had us all laughing at his turn of phrase and self-depreciating insights'
'Martin judged the requirements of the audience and the company very well and I am particularly pleased by that. Though relating to a totally different industry, it was great to see just how much relevance the audience saw in the messages and experiences he described. The talk was very entertaining, informative and stimulating; I thoroughly enjoyed it and the feedback from all of the group was very positive.'
Martin's speaking topics
Enjoying the journey, deliberate disruption and the consequences. Being ready to meet adversity and to turn it into opportunity. Making your business look good, often at the expense of others. Helping competition score own goals.
Think Big and Stay Small
How hard we need to work to retain our identity. Being David and the advantages over Goliath. How to make sure that scaling up does not bring about a loss of identity.
More bumps in the road
Entertaining incidents that resulted in competitors helping Dyson to market leadership in the USA in under two years from launch.
Have the right people, tap into their thinking and instincts, encourage and liberate their idea flow. What we do that achieves this and what we do that can stifle creativity.
Transferring all manufacturing, UK based, to Southeast Asia. The role that technology played in supporting an effective transfer. Doing the right thing even if it is the hardest thing (widespread criticism at Dyson decision).
Importance of how we react when innovation “goes wrong”…
How Dyson aped the age old principles of engineering and product development, employing fundamental techniques such as cardboard modelling combined with cutting edge CGI.
Made in Britain? ...or created in Britain?
The role that invention and entrepreneurship plays in fuelling economic growth.