The Business On... Leo Quinn, Chief executive, Qinetiq

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The Independent Online

The boss of the boffins?

In a way. Qinetiq was set up in 2001 as a commercial operation spun out of Britain's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. It continues to specialise in high-tech defence products. So you might think of Mr Quinn as a real-life "Q".

So what has he contributed to James Bond's armoury?

Not much actually. While Qinetiq is as inventive as ever, Mr Quinn was hired last October to bring a bit more commercial nous to the company. As he says himself, Qinetiq hasbenefited hugely from the skills of its scientists, but they haven't always been the best business leaders.

A numbers man, then?

He always has been. Dad was an Irish builder who moved to West London and set up his own company. Mr Quinn and his two brothers used to count out the wages each week.

What do the scientists think?

They seem to like him. In an era of public sector austerity around the world, even in the defence business, Qinetiq was always going to have to shape up for tougher times and Mr Quinn has made a good start on that, reducing debt and cutting costs. The company's workforce is unionised, but has so far backed his plans.

Where did he make his name?

Running De La Rue, the banknote printer. He enjoyed an eight-year sting at the company, which was also once State-owned.

Any defining characteristics?

He has the sort of discipline that one associates with military types, but appears not to share Bond's tastes in the good life. He's renowned for his boundless energy despite working long days and skipping lunch.

Glamour factor?

Well, he does say his favourite film is The Usual Suspects, so a bit of him obviously likes some intrigue. Skiing and scuba-diving are hobbies Bond would approve of too.

Any weaknesses for his enemies to exploit?

Whisper it quietly, but our spies tell us that he's fond of the horses.