Mark Readman is Group General Manager of the Holland Group
which includes The Angel, Platform 1, Dartside Holidays, Holland Leisure and
Holland Footwear. Behind the scenes Mark has seen the Group through some
turbulent times including near bankruptcy and the aftermath of Brexit not to
mention a pandemic! His well-judged and level headed approach to all of these
challenges, as well as the calm authority he radiates, has enabled the Group to
emerge relatively unscathed, ready to face the next chapter with confidence.
We caught up with Mark to find out more about his
background, what he used to do for 50p and which sporting star once drove into
the back of him!
Where were you born?
I was born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk although I only lived there for 6 months. I spent my childhood up to the age of 15 in Andover. I was always a really sporty child and played Junior County level tennis and squash. In my more formative years, we moved to Brighton and I switched to football and cricket.
I can remember, aged 4, being taken out for the day and when I arrived home my middle sister had been born. I am an elder brother to 3 sisters.
Unsurprisingly, I went on to study Sports Management at the most sporting University, Loughborough, where one of my claims to fame is that Seb Coe, also a student there at the time, drove into the back of me in his new Saab Turbo. Whilst living in the States I also completed a Masters degree in Leisure Management at Purdue Uni, Chicago.
What was your first job?
I had a paper round and had to cycle miles delivering to farms out near Lancing College. For an extra 50p I was also responsible for delivering bread which would get very squashed on the back of the bike rack.
How long have you been in your current role as Group General Manager of the Holland Group?
I have been here since August 2019 and have overseen the turnaround of the Group. Prior to this I worked in many roles in the US and UK, including running a Squash and Fitness Club, Golf Operating Manager of a Country Club, as well as the Executive Manager of several large golf resorts plus holiday parks. I feel I have zig zagged into my current role and didn’t really have a career master plan as a lot of my contemporaries did. I think this has really made my life more interesting.
Favourite country you have visited?
I lived and worked in the US for 10 years and love the beaches on the east coast such as Wilmington, North Carolina. I really like travelling to different parts of the world and just doing what the locals do. The most beautiful country I have visited is Sri Lanka.
I am a sports fanatic, all kinds, playing, spectating and find I can watch anything and get involved. In fact, it’s fair to say that I love any type of competition. I get really immersed in things like The Great British Bake Off and then very emotional when contestants get knocked out.
Best meal you’ve ever eaten?
I’m not totally sure where this was but I went on a trip with my Dad to the Hebrides and we had the most amazing herring dish in a pub. I like eating good, local food and especially seafood.
It would have to be a nice glass of chilled dry white wine. I also drink a lot of tea and am quite particular about the colour, not too strong, not too weak and just the right amount of milk.
Spending time relaxing with old friends followed by a special meal in the evening. Good food and good wine, plus if we could fit in a round of golf as well, all the better.
I love walking on the coast path and just being with my family.
I detest all types of injustice and will always support the small person against the big corporation.
Interesting fact about you?
While living in the US I worked in the film industry with George Lucas on Radioland Murders and also as a production assistant on several big films including Last of the Mohicans and The Road to Welville.
I am a fast driver, in fact I drive way too fast and have had lots of speeding tickets.
Most treasured possessions?
My golf clubs and the dog.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
I am very lucky to have a good quality of life, but it would be great to be able to see into the future and a secure future for my children.