Fleet News

The Last Word: Martin Burke

The Last Word: Martin Burke, UK head of fleet sales, Skoda

What has been your biggest achievement in your current role?

I’ve been with Skoda UK now for six years and can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every one those.

Last year, however, was something special and we enjoyed a record year in terms of sales and registrations, winning the Fleet News Award for Most Improved Fleet Manufacturer, which topped a great 12 months.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

Len Hunt when he was director of Audi. Len was a fantastic motivator and inspirational leader, and it was a pleasure to work for him.

What is your dream holiday?

I’ve always loved Canada – it’s a wonderful country – so it’ll have to be hiring a Winnebago and just touring around the place.

Who was the last person you received a text message from?

My mother reminding me that it was my uncle’s birthday and not to forget to send him a card!

What is your favourite sitcom?

Early Doors starring Craig Cash and Phil Mealey – well written, simple humour and some great characters, particularly the two laughing policemen.

What is your favourite film?

Another tough one to call but for me it has to be The Usual Suspects. Kevin Spacey was brilliant as Keyser Söze and the ending blew me away first time around.

What three things do you take with you take to a desert island?

A pair of sunglasses and life’s essentials such as a toothbrush and endless supply of toothpaste.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the Lottery?

I’m a lifelong Liverpool FC fan so I would purchase enough shares in the club to become a member of the Anfield board. That would be a dream come true.

When did you last take a trip on public transport?

I used one of Richard Branson’s trains down to London the other week for a meeting with our advertising agency.

What has been your biggest mistake in business – and what did you learn from it?

Possibly taking myself and my approach to business too seriously in the early part of my career. Nowadays I’ve learned to enjoy business life more and always be genuine and committed in all that I say and do.

Which superhero from comics would you most like to be?

Perhaps Roy of the Rovers. I’ve been football mad since I can remember.

Who was your childhood hero?

It has to be Kenny Dalglish – a one-off, a true football legend and the best player in the history of Liverpool FC.

What is the first thing you would do if you were made Prime Minister for the day?

Submit my expenses…

What is your best childhood memory?

The late Don Revie, who was at the time the manager of Leeds United, coming to our house for lunch in 1975.

What made it so special was that it was three hours before kick off at Anfield for the First Division championship decider between Liverpool and Leeds.

I was 11 at the time, and my parents had me dressed in a brown corduroy jacket and ‘Rupert the Bear’ checked trousers. I still have that proud photograph!

What is your favourite dish at a restaurant?

I’m a huge seafood fan. My idea of the perfect meal would be on a boat restaurant at the harbour in Madeira, taking in the spectacular views and scenery, and eating garlic king prawns and lobster tails with a nice chilled bottle of Rose wine.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I’m passionate about people, and firmly believe that a great manager surrounds himself with great people.

What is your dream car?

Difficult one but I’d probably say one of the older classics like an Aston Martin DB5. Sheer class and still as good today.

What was a pivotal moment in your life?

I had a serious childhood illness and my late grandma won enough money on a ‘Spot the Ball’ competition to pay for a trip to Lourdes in France for a blessing with holy water. I went on to make a full recovery...

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