The answer lay in his philosophy of delegation: ‘Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided on is being carried out.’
Any manager would agree and I have the same philosophy about cars, particularly after more than 4,000 stress-free miles in our long-term Jaguar S-type, which takes delegation to new levels. Slipping into the snug driver’s seat, a memory button positions me exactly where I want to be – seat, steering and pedals just right.
I don’t need to worry about the handbrake. The car has an electronic version that deals with that for me, disengaging when I set off and activating at the touch of a button. The headlights are automatic, so tunnels and night driving are taken care of, and the superb six-speed automatic gearbox, with seamless changes, chooses ratios for me. The mirror dips itself and I only need to touch the electric window switch once for it to finish the job for me.
Adaptive cruise control is a hefty £1,300 option, but is something I would always specify if I could afford it.
Cruise control has its benefits, but in traffic-clogged Britain, you always need to step in and brake because of people cutting you up or because of the ebb and flow of modern traffic.
Adaptive cruise control is different. You set the comfort distance you want between the Jaguar and the car in front and the car does the rest, braking and accelerating up to its set speed as it deems necessary.
Like most men in charge, I don’t pretend to know how it is done. I just know it works. Additional supporting features include a QuickClear windscreen so I don’t have to get out the scraper on cold mornings and a mountain of safety equipment that stops me skidding, sliding or bumping. But the unsung hero among this high-profile team must be the 2.7-litre diesel engine, simply because it spends most of its time unnoticed.
Having driven a string of premium diesel-engined cars, I have to say this is a staggering achievement.
At times, it is like driving an electric vehicle as you ride a surge of torque that appears without any discernible engine noise when accelerating.
Our model includes the optional CAT suspension, which helps to provide incredibly comfortable long-distance transport by adapting to varying driving conditions.
Model: Jaguar S-type 2.7 D Sport auto
Price (OTR): £33,345
CO2 emissions (g/km): 208
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 40% tax-payer: £309 per month
Insurance group: 14
Combined mpg: 36.0
Test mpg: 34.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £10,975/33%
HSBC contract hire rate: £601
Expenditure to date: Nil