Martha Lane Fox

United Kingdom

Education:

  • Born in Oxford, Lane Fox is the daughter of author and classical historian Robin Lane Fox. She was educated at Oxford High School, Westminster School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where she read ancient and modern history.
  • After university she showed interest in acting and prison governorship but joined the consulting firm Spectrum, involved in IT and media companies. Her first project was for British Telecom called "What is the Internet?” here she met fellow employee Brent Hoberman.

Career:

  • In 1998, Lane Fox and Hoberman founded Lastminute.com, an online travel and gift business that generated great publicity, becoming an icon of the UK internet boom and floating at the peak of the dot-com bubble. On 20 November 2003, it was announced that she would step down as managing director of Lastminute.com. The company survived the dotcom crash to be bought for £577m in 2005. Lane Fox's personal shareholding at the time the company was bought was worth £13 million.
  • On 28 December 2003, it was revealed by The Sunday Telegraph that Lane Fox would become "right hand woman" of Galen Weston, owner of Selfridges, and take over the day-to-day running of the business.
  • In 2005, advertising executive Julian Douglas shared an idea of his with her about launching a Tokyo-esque private karaoke bar in London. Falling in love with the idea, together with Nick Thistleton she launched a private karaoke company Lucky Voice with a club in London's Soho. The company have seven bars countrywide, an online application, and an additional product to be used with computers.
  • In 2007 Lane Fox joined the board of Marks & Spencer as a non-executive director. She is also on the board of Channel 4. In 2007 Lane Fox joined the board of interior design and furniture website mydeco.com, the new start-up venture of her lastminute.com partner Brent Hoberman.
  • On 16 June 2009, she was appointed the UK Government's Digital Inclusion Champion to head a two year campaign to make the British public more 'tech savvy'. She has argued that "I don't think you can be a proper citizen of our society in the future if you are not engaged online."
  • On 22 March 2010 her government role was expanded when it was announced that she would set up a new Digital Public Services Unit within the Cabinet Office.
  • In June 2010, the new Government asked Lane Fox to expand her role as UK Digital Champion advising how online public services delivery can help to provide better, and more efficient services as well as getting more people online. She was invited to sit on Cabinet Office's Efficiency and Reform Board. In July 2010 David Cameron hosted an event at 10 Downing Street to celebrate her Manifesto for a Networked Nation - a challenge for people and organizations in every sector and every corner of the country to work together to inspire, encourage and support as many new people as possible to get online by the end of the Olympic year. By the beginning of 2011 the Race Online 2012 campaign had over 1000 partners pledging to reach almost 2 million adults.

Interests:

  • Lane Fox is a strong and vocal advocate of causes such as human rights, women's rights and social justice. In 2007 she founded Antigone, a grant-making trust to support charities based in the UK.
  • She is a patron of Reprieve, a legal action charity, which made the news during its involvement in the release of UK resident Binyam Mohammed from Guantanamo Bay. Lane Fox is also a patron of Camfed, dedicated to fighting poverty, HIV and AIDS in rural Africa through the education of girls and young women.