Leadership Team

Michael Spence


While Michael, known by most as ‘Spence’, has lived and worked in more than 50 countries throughout his career, he now spends the majority of his time working with clients in Southeast Asia. He’s served 12 years as line manager at Ford Motor, ITT Automotive and Valeo Electronics in the US where he built and led Valeo’s first North American surface mount electronics plant. Prior to joining Partners in Performance in 2009, he was Ayala Land’s Chief Operations Adviser in the Philippines where he headed construction, IT and procurement and was a member of the ManCom. Since 2009, he has been at Partners in Performance where he started our South East Asian business in 2013.

Spence has worked with a wide range of clients in AsiaPac from global support/back office hubs to fast moving consumer goods, to gold mining and construction. Working hand in hand with these clients, Spence and his teams have helped achieve rapid and sustainable revenue increases, cost reductions and have put large and complex capital projects back on track in terms of time, cost, quality and safety.

When not working in offices, on construction sites or in manufacturing plants in Southeast Asa, Spence is at home in the Philippines with his wife. He spends his weekends cycling 100km, 200km or more in the hills and forests outside Manila with his Audax teammates.

Career snapshot

  • Delivered more than AU$80m in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) improvements for an Australian open-cut coal mine by meeting, and eventually, exceeding monthly forecasts for the first time in three years. This improvement was brought about by de-bottlenecking the drill and blast cycle, increasing drilled metres and waste removal, and focusing on driving down maintenance and accommodation costs.
  • Reduced the operating costs (5%), and increased production (15%), for a European-based aggregate company’s largest manufacturing facility in South East Asia.
  • Reduced the operating costs (25%), and increased production (4%), for a European-based oil and gas multinational’s oldest North Sea field.
  • Reduced purchase costs for acid, resins and plastic parts by 25% for a North American-based maker of industrial batteries, despite Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
  • Reduced an Asian construction company’s cost for rework, from US$21,700 to US$9,900 per day. This yielded an annual savings of US$4.3m.
  • Delivered US$30m of procurement savings for an Asian real estate developer, despite the doubling of steel’s world-market prices and the reduction of the procurement process cycle’s time by 50%.
  • Increased earnings by US$350m for an Asian-based oil and gas multinational by de-bottlenecking the petrochemical production chain – from offshore gas production platforms through to resin manufacturing.
  • De-bottlenecked a mining services supply chain in Australia to deliver AU$3m EBIT in only 16 weeks, plus cash flowing an additional AU$11m annualised and a further AU$11m on implementation. These improvements were made while increasing both customer satisfaction and the delivery in full, on time, to the largest customers, from 91% to 97%.
  • Delivered an improvement ideas pipeline of US$11m at an underperforming, low-reliability chemical plant. Helped the new Site General Manager turn around the operations by rewiring the organisation, driving overdue statutory inspections down from 500 to 0, increasing shutdown compliance from 63% to above 80% and increasing on-time shutdown completion to 97%, all the while increasing throughput.
  • Helped the General Manager of Operations of a rapidly growing coal seam gas company increase production potential from 68% to 84%. This improvement came by setting and driving clear accountabilities, and installing and coaching the team through effective weekly performance reviews.
  • Improved on-time performance, from 70% to 91%, across a US$1.2bn portfolio of residential, commercial and infrastructure construction projects for an Asian construction company.
  • Launched production two months ahead of schedule at a state-of-the-art surface-mount automotive electronics plant. Saved US$2m through the early termination of a supply contract for a European-based automotive supplier.
  • Improved product development performance, from 2% to 75%, for a North American-based automotive supplier. Measured progress by meeting customer milestones.
  • Improved quality from 13 defective parts per million (PPM) to one PPM through rigorous Root Cause problem-solving at a North American-based electromechanical parts supplier. The business contributed to the attainment of the Chrysler’s Gold Pentastar Award for outstanding quality and service.


MBA from the Wharton Graduate School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA (Hons) from Harvard University.