Martin Ridgeway


Personal Bio

Martin is an experienced and respected business leader with circa 20 years of Board level expertise of leading SME businesses through periods of significant change and growth.

His Core background and training is finance, but over this time he has accumulated significant experience in leading all corporate service functions, including people strategy, HR; IT, marketing, and procurement across business sectors, including adult education, hospitality, leisure, and professional sport. (Including a two year spell as FD of Derby County his lifelong love!).

Martin’s track record is exemplary, counting multiple instances of driving businesses to high double digits and even triple digit growth, both organically and through leading selective acquisition strategy. This has led to successful business exits for 3 ownership groups, with combined exit values of more than £65Million.

Martin has also been an SME business owner with more than a decade’s experience of owning and managing a multi-site live music, bar and club operation in the Midlands, and as such is equipped to be a true ‘critical friend’ to business owners/CEO’s/Managing Directors.

Financial planning, reporting and analysis

• Extensive experience of developing financial strategy to support business turnaround, rapid growth and business exit

• Creating meaningful and useful budget and forecasting processes and developing regular reports that map progress against these plans for all levels of the business

• Embedding a culture of financial planning and reporting, creating forecasting and reporting that enables business growth and encourages budget ownership

• Track record of creating planning models in support of raising business finance through banks and other financial instruments


Business MI reporting and analysis

• Developing user friendly and insightful business MI in support of top-level financial reporting to drive real business improvement


Mergers, acquisitions and business start ups

• Led 3 successful business exits with a combined value of over £65M

• Led 2 successful acquisitions and subsequent integrations into the wider group

• Management of all key advisors, including setting terms of reference, managing appointment process and driving workflow throughout a transaction

• Extensive financial and taxation due diligence experience both as seller and buyer

• Preparation of Information Memorandums and supporting financial projections

• Drafting and negotiation of Share Purchase agreements, warranties and indemnities

• Involved in two business start-ups and have 10 years + experience as a small business owner in the hospitality and entertainment sector


Business Strategy Development

• Track record of developing business plans that achieve high double-digit business growth

• Setting and communication of organisational level Objectives and KPI’s and cascading these throughout the business

• Extensive opportunity appraisal including tendering


Corporate Governance and risk

• Experience of corporate governance in highly regulated environments such as Adult Skills and Employment related Services

• Extensive experience of external review such as Ofsted and regular funding audits

• I have helped set the governance tone for a variety of different ownership/Board structures including owner managed, PE backed, ownership consortia and Community Interest Company non-executive Boards

• Experience of putting in place risk management processes and reporting


Business Turnaround

• Reviewing cost centres and business units and removing/restructuring loss making elements

• Significant organisational and staff restructures

• Site closures and lease terminations

• Future planning for the post turnaround phase


People Strategy and employee engagement

• More than 10 years’ experience as the Board level lead for People Strategy and employee engagement

• Led strategies that have enabled organisations to achieve IIP and BEST Companies recognition

• Lots of practical experience of putting in place effective appraisal, performance management and reward and recognition processes


Corporate Services

• Circa 18 years’ experience of leading a range of corporate services for a variety of SME Businesses, setting strategy for these business elements, driving performance, managing projects and reporting to ownership groups

• Corporate Services including Finance, HR, IT, Quality and Compliance, Marketing, Premises and Procurement and Business Development

Interim FD – April – December 2019

Short term business turnaround project for small but dynamic SME in the Adult Skills sector

• Re-set company cost base removing circa £200k of non-productive programme and site costs

• Creation of robust 3-year business plan along with supporting financial projections

• Creation of new organisational KPIs and monthly reporting structure


Finance and Corporate Services Director –  June 2017- Mar 2019

Developed and implemented sound strategies to drive the performance of Finance and Corporate Services teams for an award-winning Community Interest Company providing Employment related services and Adult Skills.

• Scoping, appointing and managing all advisors; responding to and managing DD process; review and negotiation of all transaction documents and acting as a key member of transaction negotiation team

• Directed planning, negotiation and execution of five Work and Health programmes and 7 supply chain contracts, valued at circa £100 million and £40 million respectively and providing a secure platform of contracted work for 6 – 7 years

• Successfully attracted, negotiated and implemented a structured debt facility of £1.25 million to support contract awards

• Delivered major IT infrastructure project to budget, including modernisation of hosting and encryption environments, migration to Office 365, outsourcing helpdesk and supporting hardware rollout

• Delivered expert financial leadership to the board by presenting financial reporting, developing budgets, business management information and business MI


Founder and Director June 2015 – Oct 2016

Business Start-up. Delivered effective training programmes across hospitality and professional sports sectors by structuring and initiating a private training provider business

• Led the rapid development from start-up to a turnover in excess of £700,000 in 18 months


 Finance and Corporate Services DirectorNov 2011- June 2015

Directed and managed the financial and business planning processes of a leading Private Equity-backed professional training provider, resulting in a tripling of the group’s turnover within 4 years

• Maximised turnover growth from £3 million p.a. to £13 million p.a. through cost-effective business strategy development enabling organic growth and through targeted acquisitions

• Increased EBITDA from £250,000 p.a. to £2 million p.a. through organic growth and acquisition  • Managed financial and business MI analysis, delivering reports to group’s private equity investors

• Led on the £2M+ acquisition of Michael john Training Limited. Scoping, appointment and management of all advisors; negotiations with vendor, drafting and negotiation of Share Purchase Agreement; all elements of due diligence, including personally carrying out all financial DD

• Delivered major IT infrastructure project to budget, including modernisation of hosting and encryption environments, migration to Office 365 and supporting hardware rollout. Project delivered to timeframe and budget

• Created effective Corporate Service strategy aligned to overarching Business strategy encompassing IT, Marketing and Business Development (tenders) • Part of Senior Management Team that delivered two successful Ofsted Inspection