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Phill Blundell

Company: AirTanker

Role: CEO

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Phill has been Chief Executive Officer of Airtanker Ltd. since May 2005. He joined Airtanker Ltd. from BAE Systems. Prior to joining BAE Systems, Phill worked in the automotive sector in engineering and design, and in operations.

Whilst at BAE Systems, Phill led a number of businesses covering large manufacturing operations, and most recently systems and software companies. He served as a Group Managing Director of C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) of BAES, with a focus on non-platform and complex systems integration.

Phill has significant experience in running operational businesses and delivering complex programmes.

AirTanker is a flexible and responsive world leading aviation service provider. Their capability spans across end-to-end maintenance, military and civil flying programmes, training and major aircraft upgrades.

Back in 2008, they were awarded the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft contract by the MOD and provide the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft ‘Voyager’ to the Royal Air Force.

They recognise the importance of innovation within the business and drive continual improvements throughout the business to drive efficiencies and realise the full potential of our capabilities and collaborative efforts.

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I knew much of what MD2MD exposed me to but it had been forgotten – now it’s updated and it’s value and relevance has become clear.

Phill experienced numerous training courses and development workshops in a career which started as an engineer for a press and tool design automotive tier 1, before moving through a number of corporate roles and then joining Airtanker as CEO. Yet, in common with many senior business leaders and despite the training, Phill has recognised that with overall responsibility one can experience a sense of isolation.

A CEO relies on the information they receive from their reports and inevitably their capacity to be close to each and every facet of the business is lessened. These underlying factors were probably instrumental in stimulating Phill to seek an opportunity to step back from the business or, as he put it: ‘step away from the fog.’

In September 2018 Phill joined the MD2MD Group in Oxford. The interaction with business leaders from different sectors together with workshops lead by world-class speakers proved to be stimulating. It reinforced the notion that all organisations essentially have similar issues yet often business leaders can be too close and lose perspective.

The time working with peers in the confidential sessions and also in the workshops has produced tangible benefits to both Phill and Airtanker. The necessity to ensure the accuracy of communicating internally has been reinforced through ideas gleaned from a particular workshop. The importance of employee involvement and strategies to achieve this have also proved valuable.

The days with MD2MD have enabled Phill to step outside the business and have been of tremendous value. It reinvigorates his thought processes, reminds him of what he has forgotten and places that knowledge in a modern and appropriate context.