Martin McCourt

Former CEO, Dyson

Speaker Themes

  • Growing a business
  • Innovation & creativity
  • Leadership in adverse circumstances
  • Overcoming failure
  • Building a brand
  • The future of work
  • Manufacturing
  • See more below…

Travels from

London, UK


Martin McCourt has spent over 40 years working at the heart of British-based manufacturing, design and marketing for quality brands such as Dyson, Mars, Duracell, Toshiba and Pelikan.

For 15 years, Martin was the CEO of Dyson, the market-leading consumer products maker. As
CEO, he devised and implemented a strategy that transformed the company from a single product, single market producer into one where 80% of the business comes from over 60 markets around the world. In that time he increased UK skilled jobs, grew profits to over £300m and enabled James Dyson to keep on inventing.

In 2011, Dyson hit £1bn revenue for the first time. Martin was directly responsible for the establishment of Dyson subsidiaries in the USA, Japan, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. In total he took Dyson into over 60 markets, achieving market leadership in the majority including the USA.

Martin’s previous experience was in sales and marketing with successful global companies Mars, Duracell, Toshiba and Pelikan.

He was named UK Business Leader of the Year in 2010.

In April 2017 Martin was appointed Chairman of The Dudson Group, the UK-based ceramics maker. He is also Chairman of Glen Dimplex Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of electrical heating, including domestic appliances, cooling, ventilation and renewable energy solutions.

Additionally, he is Chairman of The Learning Curve Group, an organisation providing vocational education and training programmes to a wide range of learners and employers. He is also Chairman of Venture Founders, a UK-based equity investment platform designed to make Angel and Venture Capital style investing more accessible, affordable and transparent.

Martin is on the Board of Your Life, a three-year campaign to ensure young adults in the UK have the maths and science skills needed to succeed in the current competitive global economy.

He is a Non-Executive Director and investor for Headbox, a web based platform which enables the sharing of inspiring places for people to have meetings, and he is also a Non-Executive Director of Ideas Britain, a mobile platform which connects young people with great ideas to expert business coaches and brands.


Martin is a giant of British business, with a phenomenal track-record of success. Drawing on his colourful career and critical role at the iconic British brand, Dyson, he delves into the secrets of building successful 21st century companies. Some of the themes he can discuss include:

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.

Iterative Development
How Dyson aped the age old principles of engineering and product development, employing fundamental techniques such as cardboard modelling combined with cutting edge CGI.

Vertical Growth
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.

Big changes
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).

Made in Britain? …or created in Britain? 
The role that invention and entrepreneurship plays in fuelling economic growth.

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.

Confronting failure
Importance of how we react when innovation “goes wrong”…

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.


“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.” — Deloitte

“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!” — Ernst & Young

“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.” — Atos

Contact us about Martin McCourt