" Knowing your weaknesses, being in the centre of the action and continual learning - let Mark Laine-Toner talk you through his journey and leadership.

By Joanna Argent, Writer, GENCFO

Sponsored by Fluence Technologies.

Mark Laine-Toner

Financial Director


With over 20 years experience, predominantly in the food retail sector, Mark is now Financial Director of Evri, the parcel delivery company and a qualified executive coach. 

Mark has been through several finance transformation projects and advocates coaching as a valuable method within his leadership toolbox.

Read on to discover Mark’s journey and his lessons in finance leadership. 

Mark will also be speaking at our @GENCFO Summit in May, so if you enjoy this, register here to learn more from him and other industry leaders.

Mark’s journey

Mark’s early career saw him move across multiple disciplines in finance including internal audit, management accounting, transaction accounting, working capital management  and commercial.  

“Transaction Accounting, like Accounts Receivable, gave me a great opportunity to experience leadership at a young age.”

Within the food retail sector, he started within the Sainsbury’s Graduate Scheme and then enjoyed significant years in Sainsbury’s, Asda and Co-Op, really developing his senior business partnering and leadership experience. 

“This past year or so, I have worked for Evri Parcel Delivery, which has been really exciting, given their recent growth and success.”

Being at the centre of the action

“All areas of business have a finance aspect,” says Mark, “I enjoy being in the reeds one moment and then working on the strategy with the CEO the next.”

Facilitating change and helping finance teams be the best they can be is also something that Mark really enjoys, whether that is reporting, data, process, ways of working or leadership.

“I have a big passion for delivering sustained performance improvement in a business.”

“An important aspect of this is the technology tools we use,” explains Mark. “It can really unlock the fun parts of our and our team’s roles, and make our finance roles easier, so we can focus on adding more value.”

With significant experience in business partnering, Mark also prides himself on being an internal consultant for the businesses he works for. 

“Finance can bring a wider and slightly independent view, which adds value to other parts of the business”, he adds.

Leading transformation

Mark has been through several big transformations, and led 3 personally. 

“The first was a challenge because I had taken on a big role beforehand. The FD then asked me to run the programme. That certainly stretched me."

"You only truly grow when you are stretched.”

Most recently at Evri, Mark’s transformation initiatives include changing processes, improving ways of working, building capability and also step changing reporting, data and automation.

Mark has learnt from his experience, understanding that it is possible to back the wrong technology for a job. 

He can cite an example of a tech solution implemented which has since negatively impacted the team. They now need to undergo a full rewrite of their data structures and data transformation. 

“It’s important to use the right tech solution and approach your data in a logical and structured way.”

Mark emphasises that time spent at the beginning of the project, not rushing into development, is time very well spent. It is imperative to involve stakeholders and users of the end product right from the start.

Never stop investing in yourself

Mark believes in the power of continual learning,  investing in himself and his people. 

“It is always important to invest and build your career with purpose.”

In addition, he qualified as a coach 2 years ago and now is providing personal coaching to individuals. He is passionate about nurturing talent and seeing people grow.  He also coaches his daughters football team, which is certainly a stretch!

“I love the fact that the training improved me as a coach, but also helped me understand the impact of the lived experience on individuals and the systems that we belong to.”

He is also participating in the 6-month peer development GrowCFO programme, which supports ambitious finance leaders to reach their full potential. 

His most recent career change supports his continued learning. Mark says he joined Evri to broaden his skills and get exposure to more fields. 

“It is also private equity backed,” he explains, “ which is an experience I wanted since they will exit at some point too”.  

Know your weaknesses

Mark likes to think his leadership style is engaging and positive, someone the team can buy into. 

As a leader, he sets the vision and direction, but works hard to remain approachable and remove any barriers the hierarchy may impose.

However, he also recognises you have to know your weaknesses.

“I know I need great completer-finishers around me and really benefit from the diversity of thought my teams can provide.”

Mark explains that leading leaders and delivering the same impact across a number of teams is more difficult. 

“You have to work really hard at it, it takes a lot of engagement and a lot of investment.”

However, he reports that the work pays off.

“If you are able to build a change in culture across a large team and build a development-centric team, it fills you with pride.”


Power Profile

What music inspires you?

"“I love all types of music but oddly for a forty year old, I am a lover of all current music. I love anything new – Spotify’s UK Hits or Happy Songs. I am a big Harry Styles fan, probably because of my daughters!”"

Who is your hero?

"“My wife. She has supported me through challenges, coached me, been my mirror and sounding board, and challenged me on my thinking. I literally wouldn’t be where I am now without her.”"


author image
Joanna Argent, Writer, GENCFO

Joanna is an interviewer and writer at GENCFO. Read her finance leader and industry expert interviews for The Shift.

Join the conversation

Become a member of GENCFO to start connecting.