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15 Jun 2022

Oliver Lee OBE announced as new CEO at Places Leisure
BY Frances Marcellin

Oliver Lee OBE will be taking over the position of CEO at Places Leisure in July

Oliver Lee OBE will be taking over the position of CEO at Places Leisure in July
photo: Places Leisure

Oliver Lee OBE will be taking the position of CEO at Places Leisure from July. He will replace Paul McPartlan, who announced in April that he would be leaving the organisation.

“I feel delighted, privileged, and humbled to be given this opportunity to join Places for People and to lead the leisure business and the 6,000-plus colleagues as we move forward,” said Lee. “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.”

McPartlan joined Places for People in 2020 following a stint at Nuffield Health as national operations director where he was responsible for 31 Hospitals and over 300 facilities. Becoming part of the senior leadership of Places Leisure during the pandemic, he led the team during a complicated period and ends his tenure as rising energy costs have put additional pressure on the leisure sector, particularly operators with swimming pools.

McPartlan is returning to Nuffield Health in an executive role where he will oversee the implementation of a new operating model, initially focusing on the London region – integrating Aspen and the new St Bartholomew's Hospital – as part of Nuffield’s strategy "to build a healthier nation".

“My time at Places Leisure 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,” said McPartlan. “I am truly excited for Places Leisure’s future and delighted that Oliver will be at the helm with his wealth of experience.”

Lee spent 18 years in the Royal Marines, completing his service as commanding officer and leader of one of the UK’s three commando groups. His first ten years culminated in an MBE, and he was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his strategic work on a social and economic regeneration programme in Afghanistan.

Following military service, Lee took the role of CEO at The Challenge, a UK charity that helped 242,000 young people between 2009 and 2019 to develop their confidence and life skills. In March 2020, he was hired by Nuffield Health as crisis management director to support the not-for-profit healthcare organisation through the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Group CEO of Places for People, Greg Reed, 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.”



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