Fleet News

The last word: Neill Richards

Neill Richards, fleet sales director, JCT600

What has been your biggest achievement in your current role?

I have only been here for six months, but have already furnished my team with the tools to do the role more effectively which involved a big financial investment.

I also have a very clear and defined fleet strategy for JCT600 over the next five years.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

My late father. He came from very humble beginnings and became the managing director of one of the UK’s largest insurance companies. He taught me how to treat people fairly.

What’s your dream holiday?

I am lucky enough to have done it already and I will do it again. I drove down Pacific Highway 1 with my wife in a Mustang Convertible from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

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

My wife telling me how bored she is at work.

What is your favourite sitcom?

Two and a Half Men. It is just wrong on every level but it never ceases to make me laugh.

What is your favourite film?

Trains, Planes and Automobiles with John Candy and Steve Martin.

You are on a desert island – what three things do you take with you?

Classic car magazines, water and an iPhone.

When was the last time you took public transport and where were you going?

The train to Rotherham for a rugby match.

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

Stop lorries overtaking on the M62 eastbound between junctions 21 and 23, and on the southbound M18.

That would cut my travelling time by 30%. Also, the extension of free road tax for classic cars more than 25 years old.

Labour stopped it in 1997 so a 1972 Triumph Stag is exempt but a 1973 model isn’t. It seems so unfair to the classic car enthusiasts.

If you won the Lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

An Aston Martin DB5, a Shelby Mustang 350GT Fastback and a house with a garage big enough to fit them both next to my everyday car.

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

Unfortunately, I have seen some really poor management styles and left them unchallenged.

I now challenge more as a result and all the positive aspects of my management style are hopefully learned from those individuals on how not to manage.

What is your best childhood memory?

Going on holiday with my parents to Devon and Cornwall in the back of a Ford Cortina Ghia.

What is your favourite dish at a restaurant?

Full spice tray with poppadoms, chicken tikka balti, with keema rice and a keema naan bread.

What is your favourite book?

I have two which are polarised in content. Les Jeux Sont Faits (The dice are cast) by Jean Paul Sartre: an interesting insight to life after death.

At the other end of the scale is Katie Price’s first biography. The gossip was outstanding and funny.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

Real ale, quality wine, good food and classic cars. Not at the same time though.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Very open and approachable but focused on what needs to be done at all times. I am demanding but I never, ever lose my cool.

When did you last feel guilty about the environment?

The CO2 emissions on my company car are too high.

Who was your childhood hero?

My late father – an ace on every level.

Which historical character do you most identify with?

I find Sir Winston Churchill amazing.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Don’t take your career too seriously between 18 and 24 because, as a rule, nothing you do will have any bearing on what you end up doing in your 30s and beyond.

What is the one object you couldn’t live without?

My iPhone.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?

A surprise 40th birthday party. All my friends and family surprised me while I was away on holiday with my wife. Some of these people have families and businesses to run so to take the time out was amazing and very touching.

Which superhero from comics would you most like to be?

I loved Spiderman when I was young.

What was the pivotal moment in your life?

Being made redundant in 1998 from a food company. It kick-started my wanting to get into the automotive sector and I have not looked back since.

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