Martha Lane Fox
|The Right Honourable|
The Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho
Martha Lane Fox|
10 February 1973
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, life peer|
Martha is founder and executive chair of Doteveryone.org.uk, a charity fighting for a fairer internet and building a movement for responsible technology.
Fox co-founded Last Minute during the dotcom boom of the early 2000s and has subsequently served on public service digital projects. She sits on the boards of Twitter, Donmar Warehouse, The Queens Commonwealth Trust and Chanel. She previously served on the board of Channel 4.
Born in London, Lane Fox is the daughter of academic and gardening writer Robin Lane Fox. She was educated at Oxford High School, an all-girls independent school in Oxford, and at Westminster School, an all-boys public school in London with a mixed-sex sixth form. She read ancient and modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.
Fox showed interest in acting and prison governorship but instead joined information technology and media consulting firm Spectrum, where she met Brent Hoberman. Her first project—entitled "What is the Internet?"—was commissioned by British Telecom.
In 1998, Fox and Hoberman founded Last Minute, an online travel and gift business that generated significant publicity, floating at the peak of the dot-com bubble. She stepped down as managing director in 2003. Meanwhile, the company survived the dot-com crash to be bought out by Sabre Holdings in 2005 for £577m.
At the suggestion of advertising executive Julian Douglas, Fox teamed up with Nick Thistleton to launch karaoke company Lucky Voice, which owns seven bars, including a club in Soho and revolutionised the karaoke industry..
From 2009 to 2013 Martha was Digital Champion for the UK and helped to create the Government Digital Service – this team launched gov.uk transforming government service delivery and tasked with spearheading a two-year campaign to improve computer literacy. The following year she was assigned to establish the Digital Public Services Unit within the Cabinet Office.  and invited to sit on the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Board.
The following month she was honored by David Cameron for her Manifesto for a Networked Nation, a challenge to increase British internet engagement. In April 2012, she launched Go ON UK, a charity dedicated to improving digital skills within the United Kingdom. She resigned from her position as Digital Champion in late 2013.
Fox entered the House of Lords as a crossbencher on 26 March 2013, becoming its youngest female member. In her maiden speech she addressed the need for digital literacy in all sectors of the economy.
Doteveryone founded by Martha Lane Fox, and announced in her Richard Dimbleby Lecture in 2015, is a London-based think tank staffed by researchers, designers, technologists, and makers. Exploring how technology is changing society, build proofs of concept to show it could be better for all, and partner with other organisations to provoke and deliver mainstream change.
In 2017 she was appointed a member of the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy.
More recently in 2018 Lane-Fox was appointed Non Executive Director of Chanel as well as Donmar Warehouse and the Queens Commonwealth Trust.
And Martha continues to be a Patron of AbilityNet, Reprieve, Camfed and Just for Kids Law.
In 1998 Martha co-founded Europe’s largest travel and leisure website, lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman. They took it public in 2000 and sold it in 2005.
She is a patron of Reprieve, a legal action charity notable for its involvement in the release of UK resident Binyam Mohammed from Guantanamo Bay, and Camfed, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty, HIV, and AIDS in rural Africa through an emphasis on education of young women.
When telecommunications company Orange withdrew its longstanding support for the Orange Prize, Fox was one of several benefactors, along with Cherie Blair and Joanna Trollope, who offered to sustain the contest until another major sponsor could be found.
Honours and assessment
Lane Fox was appointed Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for "services to the digital economy and charity". In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. In the same month it was announced that she was to be created a life peer to sit as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.
In May 2004 she was severely injured in a car accident in the tourist resort of Essaouira in Morocco and was flown to England for treatment at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and later Wellington Hospital in London. She was discharged from hospital in December 2005.
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- "Antigone". Antigone. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
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- "British Entrepreneurs Top 100: From Lord Sugar to Victoria Beckham, These Are the Most Influential Entrepreneurs in the UK". Richtopia. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- "Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho awarded BCS Distinguished Fellowships | News releases | Press Office | Policy and media | BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT". www.bcs.org. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
- Ashton, James (19 July 2009). "Martha Lane Fox back". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
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