What is your biggest achievement as chairman of Fleet Support Group?
Convincing a number of people in 1987 to financially back my vision of creating a revolutionary
vehicle maintenance management company. They did support me and that business, which started in my kitchen, has grown into Fleet Support Group, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Inclusive – it is very important to build a team and then work with everyone to achieve the objective.
Which person has had the biggest influence on your career?
Lord Forte – a man who built a global hotel and hospitality business having started with a single coffee shop. Inspirationally, Lord Forte showed that with vision, a strong work ethic and loyal employees anything and everything is possible.
What is your dream holiday?
A visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland home. I was lead singer and guitarist with 1960s band The Gonks. The band’s claim to fame was backing female singer Twinkle when she supported the Rolling Stones on their 1965 tour of the UK and Ireland and when she appeared at the New Musical Express Poll Winners All-Star Concert at Wembley in the same year. More recently I’ve joined friends in recording CDs in aid of the Hope for Tomorrow charity. Included on those are cover versions of songs originally performed by Elvis Presley who was a major influence on me.
What is the first thing you would do if you were made Prime Minister for the day?
Appoint a common-sense minister who has worked in business and understands the myriad of issues that businesses of all shapes and sizes and in a wide cross section of market sectors face. Too many of today’s ministers are career politicians. They have not worked in the real world and they have no feel for the issues faced every day.
When was the last time you took public transport and where were you going?
Train from our Chippenham head office to London Paddington for a business meeting – it is a journey I make at least two or three times a month.
If you won the National Lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
I would buy my own farm where I could satisfy my love of driving tractors.
What has been your biggest mistake in business?
Trusting a lawyer. The lesson I learned from it was always to obtain a second opinion.
Who was your childhood hero?
Footballer Stanley Matthews, who played for Blackpool, Stoke City and England. He epitomised everything that a sportsman should be.
When did you last feel guilty about the environment?
Hearing about the destruction of the rain forest and feeling powerless to do anything about it.
Which is your favourite film?
The 1979 film Champ starring Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway and directed by Franco Zeffirelli because it shows the influence a father has over his son.
Who was the last person you received a text message from?
What is a text? I will have to ask my secretary!
What is your favourite sitcom?
Fawlty Towers. Situations highlighted in the hugely popular BBC TV comedy programme can be seen in real life almost daily.
What has been the pivotal moment in your life?
Recognising my true strengths and weaknesses and then building a complementary team to achieve my goals.
What is your best childhood memory?
At the end of World War II many children’s lives were changed as a result of homecoming fathers who had been absent for some considerable time. My own farther coming home had a huge impact on the life of our family and is my best childhood memory.
What is your favourite dish at a restaurant?
Turbot – it just tastes very good.
What is your dream car?
As a young man with aspirations it became apparent that a Rolls-Royce was associated with success. That long-distant aspiration remains current today.