The Bristol Distinguished Address Series: Leo Quinn, Chief Executive Officer, QinetiQ Group

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Date: 09 October 2014
Venue: Bristol City Hall
Time: Reception: 18:00 - Lecture: 18:30 - Networking and Supper: 19:30

Cultural transformation – the key to raising performance.

Leo Quinn, CEO of the UK's largest research and technology organisation QinetiQ Group, has been transforming the fortunes of the once struggling plc since his appointment in 2010. In the first of a new series of Bristol Distinguished Addresses, Quinn will reveal how he is driving change and lessons that can be learned by other organisations. He will explain why, above all, he believes that cultural transformation is the only non-negotiable in delivering greater value for customers, employees and investors.

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  • 18:00 - Registration and refreshments
  • 18:30 - Lecture
  • 19:30 - Networking and supper


Leo Quinn has led the transformation of a number of global, technology-based businesses.

He was appointed Group Chief Executive of QinetiQ Group plc (FTSE250, turnover $2.5bn, Aerospace/ Defence) in November 2009. At that point the former government spin-out was in crisis, with two profit warnings and a potential breach of banking covenants causing the market to expect an emergency call for equity.

Leo rapidly established a two-phase strategy, starting with 24 months of 'self-help' to avoid the pressing necessity for a rights issue and to provide the foundation for future expansion. This programme has transformed QinetiQ's performance into that of a respected and resilient niche leader. The portfolio has been honed into investable businesses under a new cadre of leaders. Over £0.5bn of cash has been generated, taking the heavily indebted balance sheet for the first time to a net cash position. With contract execution and therefore customer satisfaction at an historic high, QinetiQ is now implementing its second strategic phase, Organic-Plus, by investing to expand its core expertise into new markets, especially internationally and beyond defence, in order to generate sustainable earnings growth.

From 2004 to 2008 Leo was Chief Executive of De La Rue plc (FTSE250, turnover $1.1bn, Support Services), where his strategy of internally-funded investment in customer relationships and material science innovation, funded by productivity improvements, refocused the company into the world's leading commercial security printer and revitalised growth. Under his leadership, De La Rue created £1bn in value, most of which was returned to shareholders, and rose from near-bottom of the FTSE250, to #105.

Prior to that Leo spent almost 4 years as COO of Invensys plc's $3bn Production Management business, headquartered in the US and supplying complex control systems for nuclear, oil and gas installations. Leo reversed the decline of the division, contributing substantially to the parent company's ability to refinance and recover. His experience also includes a successful internet-based software start-up, and16 years with Honeywell Inc. in senior management roles across the world including Global President of H&BC Enterprise Solutions. He has also held non-Executive Directorships, including with Tomkins plc.

About the Bristol Distinguished Address Series

The Bristol Distinguished Address Series provides a unique opportunity to hear about the challenges, issues and decisions being made at the highest level of strategic leadership. The series is delivered by the Bristol Business School in partnership with ACCA, Bristol City Council, Bristol Junior Chamber, Bristol Post, Business West, CBI, CMI, FSB, IoD, ICAEW, and the West of England LEP.

Cost: This event is full. Registration is closed.
Contact: Corporate Relations and Events Team
Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 83934

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