MEET THE TEAM
GROUP MANAGEMENT BOARD
As the son of a pilot, Chris Leach has always had aviation in his blood. Starting out with Saturn Airways in the 1970s, Chris has experience of almost every aspect of the aviation business, from dealing with passenger flights all over Europe, to his role in Sudan in the early 80s with Transamerica Airlines, where he coordinated aircraft during the great famine transporting personnel and aid. He founded ACS in 1990 from the basement of his home in Kingston, and his knowledge of the aviation market won him several key contracts for passenger and cargo flights with organisations such as the United Nations. Deciding never to take a bank loan, but instead to grow the business organically, Chris re-invested heavily in the business and grew it from its humble beginnings to the leading global company that it is today. His key beliefs have always remained that personal service is what the airline industry is all about and that if you go the extra mile for the customer, they will always come back and, as a result, the business will grow. Chris has been honoured in recent years for his work in aviation, with two lifetime achievement awards, as well as being invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and been inducted into the TIACA Hall of Fame, alongside such luminaries as Fred Smith, the Founder Chairman of Federal Express.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Justin is renowned in the charter industry for his encyclopaedic knowledge of all things aviation. This, combined with his enthusiasm on the subject, has made him one of the most trusted and successful aircraft charter experts in Europe over the past three decades. Starting his tenure with ACS in 1992, Justin rose through the ranks to the position of Group CEO in 2013. He is a key member of the ACS & Mountfitchet Group (Holding Company) boards and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2016. In his spare time he enjoys following his football team, Brighton & Hove Albion, and is a keen golfer. Justin lives with his wife and their three children in Surrey.
GROUP FINANCE DIRECTOR
Stewart Pitt is another hugely experienced member of the ACS management team. Stewart trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1997 and then spent six years at British Airways. Stewart initially joined BA as an Internal Audit Manager and later became the Financial Controller for the airline’s catering operations worldwide. He then spent two years at the London Stock Exchange managing the company’s financial planning and forecasting processes as well as being involved in several M&A projects. Stewart joined ACS in 2006 and has overseen the financial aspects of the group’s globalisation, implementing financial processes and controls in all ACS offices. Stewart’s knowledge and experience has proved invaluable since his arrival and has resulted in ACS being one of the most financially secure charter companies in the world.
GROUP COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR
Justin is a highly experienced charter expert who counts some of the biggest names in the industry amongst his clients. He started out in the charter world in the former ACS operations base in Ostend, where he became an expert in the ground operations essential to running a successful charter. He then moved to the sales side of the business where this experience was used to great effect and his practical knowledge has proved extremely valuable to the ACS board. Justin was appointed Group Commercial Director in 2013.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Ruan has been with ACS for more than 15 years and has held a number of key management roles. Initially in the London Cargo department, he then diversified his knowledge and worked on the executive jets side of the business. In 2004, Ruan became President of North American operations before moving back to the UK and taking on the role of International Development Director, later becoming Group Director of Executive Jets. Having developed an impressive and diverse range of knowledge across global markets and a wide range of departments, Ruan was appointed COO of ACS in 2013.
HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
Katie joined ACS in 2017, bringing with her nearly 20 years’ experience in the recruitment sector – including four years as Head of HR at Adecco and seven as HR Director at Kelly Services. As ACS continues to expand across the globe, she will play a key role in attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry through effective recruitment, training and reward programmes.
GROUP LEGAL DIRECTOR & GROUP COMPANY SECRETARY
After qualifying as a solicitor, Omar worked in-house in software and recruitment before joining ACS in 2013. Since then, he’s been involved in negotiating high-value commercial contracts, commercial litigation and employment law, as well as streamlining and building upon the group’s diligent and thorough compliance procedures. He plays an important role in maintaining service quality and managing risk as ACS continues to grow globally.
GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR
Having worked in all three main divisions at ACS - the Private, Group and Cargo departments - in both operations and account management, James moved to the Marketing department in 2007. He was appointed Group Marketing Director in 2011 and has grown the department in both size and effect exponentially. James is responsible for all marketing strategies, including the implementation of new customer technology.
Christine has worked in all administrative areas of ACS and has served as a Director and Company Secretary since the beginning. At one time or another, she has headed up the company’s Finance and Legal teams, but now concentrates on her role as Non-Executive Director. She also chairs the charity committee and plays a key role in developing the company’s CSR activity.
GROUP EXECUTIVE JETS DIRECTOR
Andrew has been instrumental in the growth of both the Private Charter division and the North American offices. Originally working in the London office, Andrew moved to New York in 2008, eventually being promoted to President, North America. In 2014 he returned to ACS headquarters in London to take charge of all private aircraft operations worldwide.
GROUP CARGO DIRECTOR
Dan joined ACS in 2002, quickly rising to the position of London Cargo Director. There are few scenarios he has not experienced in air cargo, particularly in respect to arranging relief in the aftermath of disasters. In 2016 he was promoted to Group Cargo Director and is charged with maintaining ACS’s reputation as the world’s leading air cargo charter provider.
GROUP COMMERCIAL JETS DIRECTOR
In 2005 Matthew started in the company’s fledgling Group Charter division, playing a pivotal role in the department’s exponential growth over the next decade. He has orchestrated large scale programmes for nearly every conceivable event, nurturing ACS’s world-leading reputation. As Global Group Charter Director he is tasked with continuing to grow the division across the world.
MANAGER, ONBOARD COURIER
Following a sales internship 15 years ago, Oliver started his career in the onboard courier (OBC) and time critical industry. Since then, he’s travelled to 92 countries and built up an unparalleled list of industry contacts. Since taking over ACS’s OBC operation in 2015, he and his team have successfully completed more than 2,000 jobs.
JET CARD MANAGER
After graduating from Loughborough University in 2005 with a degree in Air Transport Management, Tim joined ACS’s Executive Jet division in London. Having worked his way up through the charter sales team, in 2014 he moved over to the Jet Card division where he now oversees the entire Empyrean programme.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR AMERICAS
Having started at ACS as Justin Bowman’s assistant in 2004, Richard has soared through the ranks to head up the company’s operations in the Americas. The company has nearly tripled in size within the region since he became Regional Director in 2014 and, under his leadership, is well-positioned to continue to grow in one of the world’s most mature charter markets.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA & INDIA
Having started at ACS in 2006, Andrew has spent time in the London, Moscow and, most recently, the Dubai offices. He is currently responsible for ACS’s operations in the Middle East, Africa and India, proving to be a steadying influence in often turbulent markets. He will play an integral role in guiding ACS through key developing markets.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, EUROPE
Tracy joined ACS in 2007 as the Dubai office manager, developed a passion for aviation and transferred to the Group Charter team. In 2012 she spearheaded ACS’s new operation in India, establishing a strong presence across the subcontinent before being promoted to head up the group’s European efforts. She is tasked with helping to navigate an evolving geo-political landscape.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, RUSSIA & CIS
Azat joined ACS in 2013 and has steered the company’s operations impressively through tumultuous times in the CIS, increasing market share despite the region’s economic strife. Going forward he will be playing a key role in maintaining that momentum and diversifying ACS’s offering across Russia and the CIS.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC
Having joined ACS in 2006, Steve moved to Hong Kong in 2008, taking on the role of Cargo Sales Director for Asia, before becoming Regional Director, Asia Pacific in 2015. Under his stewardship, ACS has thrived in China and opened an office in Australia, the sixth continent for ACS, putting the company in prime position to deal with the Asian markets.
GROUP IT DIRECTOR
During his time at ACS Rob has revolutionised the group’s IT infrastructure, adapting and evolving the global network to best serve the company’s customers and keep up with its rapid growth. As ACS continues to explore and embrace new technologies, Rob will have a key role in implementing new systems and tools.
GLOBAL BID & CONTRACTS DIRECTOR
In 2006 Lloyd started working in the ACS Operations team, later becoming a cargo charter executive and progressing through the ranks. In 2013 he moved to business development, climbing to the position of Business Development Director, where he oversees the tender process for key client accounts. He also plays a key role as part of ACS’s charity committee.
GLOBAL DIRECTOR EXECUTIVE JET LEASING
Gavin joined the ACS London Private Charter team in 2002, helping to grow the department significantly over the ensuing years. In 2009 he moved to Hong Kong to help establish the company’s presence in the area. After a spell leading the Dubai office, he returned to London to head up the Private Charter Business Development team, before taking the helm of the Executive Jet Leasing division.
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