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Rob Butler


Rob has over 26 years experience of working with niche engineering organisations. He has a track record of achieving exceptional growth and operational improvements in a variety of technology-based businesses including  SMEs, FTSE 250, government departments and a multinational conglomerates.

Rob has a degree in Electronics with business. He was commissioned into the Armed Forces and specialised in  repair and maintenance organisations.  He then took up a role delivering custom superconducting projects for Oxford Instruments Plc. Rob then moved to a division of Cobham Plc specialising in pyrotechnic countermeasures as Operations Director.  He followed this with a move to James Fisher Plc specialising in rail signalling. Staying with James Fisher he then headed up a testing services division.

Rob’s Specialities:

Rob is passionate about helping organisations and their staff to grow and develop. He is enthusiastic on making sure the strategy of the business is aligned with strategy of the customer.  He firmly believes that helping an organisation to understand and enhance their competitive advantage is critical to its success. Consequently, much of his work has been focused on developing closer relationships with the customer; enhancing the products including quality and delivery; and extending the reach of the business both into customers and suppliers.

Some of Rob’s Projects:

Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe (The Railway Engineering Company Ltd):

As Managing Director I oversaw the development, product acceptance and rollout of the first Automatic Routing System to meet the new Network Rail specification. The software and data were built to Safety Integrity Level 2 standards and encompassed circa 150-man years of development time.  I restructured the operational and contractual systems to allow the business model to rapidly expand and retain production related IPR. This required working with key customers and suppliers to derive standard pricing mechanisms and standard terms and conditions. During my tenure, the turnover grew from c£2.2m to c£8.3m and the profit grew from c£250k to c£2.4m. In addition I led company activities to prepare for sale and to market the business. The company was sold by James Fisher Plc to Hitachi for £25.5m.

James Fisher Testing Services Ltd:

The business employed c280 personnel predominately in UK, Ireland, UAE, Singapore and Malaysia. The business is accredited by UKAS, to ISO 17025 for materials testing in the construction industry and undertook the design and installation of world leading structural health monitoring systems and other asset monitoring. As Managing Director I undertook a strategic review to and then transitioned the product offering away from High Volume/ Low Value towards Low Volume/ High Value. I created a global senior management team and used this to transfer the technology to complement the existing products between the geographically disparate business units.

Cobham Plc:

As Operations Director of a pyrotechnic countermeasures subsidiary I oversaw the introduction of lean manufacturing systems which in turn saw annual production rise between 40% and 300% across different product lines. Work in progress fell to 20% of the level when I started.  I was also part of the team marketing the company. Cobham Plc sold the business to Esterline Technologies Inc for £44m.