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Oliver Lee OBE joins Places Leisure as the new CEO

– 2 min read

Oliver Lee OBE has been appointed as the new CEO of Places Leisure, Places for People’s leisure arm which manages over 100 leisure facilities on behalf of local authorities across the UK. 

Greg Reed, Chief Executive Officer of Places for People, said:

“Oliver’s experience and ability – as a people leader and as a senior executive – will enable him both to take Places Leisure forward as we continue to integrate it into the Places for People enterprise organisation, and unleash its massive strategic potential, all while inspiring and enthusing our colleagues in Leisure about the journey they, and we all, are on.

“Furthermore, Oliver’s background is unique and adds to the great diversity of experience on our Executive team.”

A wealth and diversity of leadership experience

After university, Oliver became a Royal Marines Commando, rising to the rank of full Colonel, the youngest person since World War Two to do so.

During his time in the Royal Marines, Oliver worked in a number of significant frontline leadership roles, including as the commanding officer of 45 Commando during a highly successful tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He also held various senior executive positions that included being strategic adviser to Defence Ministers.

Following his military service, Oliver was appointed as CEO of The Challenge, an award-winning social enterprise that delivered residential programmes to develop young people's confidence, life skills and ability to succeed in the workplace. During his six years at The Challenge, Oliver grew annual programme participation to 50,000 people.

Oliver added: “I feel delighted, privileged and humbled to be given this opportunity to join Places for People and to lead the incredible Places Leisure business and the amazing 6,000-plus colleagues as we move forward.

“The aspiration and opportunity we have to use all of the expertise in Places Leisure to develop and enrich the lives of customers in our existing and future communities, as well as helping support Places for People’s strategic growth ambitions is particularly exciting, and the opportunities to make a difference for the better are incredible.”

Paul McPartlan leaves a great legacy

Oliver will take over from Paul McPartlan, Places Leisure's current CEO who announced in April that he was leaving for a role outside the business.

Of his time at Places Leisure, Paul said: "It has been simply incredible. Like many in the leisure industry we’ve navigated some challenging times following the nationwide pandemic and we’re back on a strong trajectory. I am truly excited for Places Leisure’s future and delighted that Oliver will be at the helm with his wealth of experience.”

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