Carol Burke

Managing Director, Unipart Manufacturing Group

Carol Burke graduated from Liverpool University in 1990 undertaking various placements within British Steel during her studies. On graduation she joined GKN Axles Ltd progressing through roles as foreman, Production Manager, Works Manager and Business Manager, and finally implementing a new factory making axles for the Vauxhall Frontera. Carol’s fast-track GKN career led to her recruitment in 1994 by one of Unipart’s manufacturing companies, Premier Exhaust Systems Ltd, to introduce and refine Japanese manufacturing methods. In response to automotive industry globalisation. John Neill set up the UEES Joint Venture and appointed Carol to grow the company and its people, and to support the Unipart Group. She used the breathing space afforded by the Phoenix survival years to re-engineer the company by extending Toyota’s ‘lean’ system and the ‘Unipart Way’ to encompass manufacturing engineering, design, end-to-end customer service and human resource management.

In 2006 Carol extended her responsibilities. Unipart Manufacturing was established to grow the core fuel tank and exhaust system manufacturing businesses, realise the potential of selling the Unipart Way to clients and develop talent for the Unipart Group. As a core part of this, she developed the UEES ‘Teaching Factory’ – simultaneously a training facility where people learn about the techniques of lean manufacturing and the Unipart Way.

Burke has been a member of the National Skills Academy Board, Coventry & Warwickshire Learning and Skills Council and the Board of CBI West Midlands. She was voted Midlands Business Women of the Year in 2005 and CBI Women of the Year for Manufacturing by CBI in 2006. She received the RAEng Nuffield medal for achievement in manufacturing in 2008 and in 2010 elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.