Fleet News

The Last Word: Val South

Val South

Val South is the latest inductee to the Fleet News Hall of Fame. She has been in fleet management for the past 35 years and was the Fleet News fleet manager of the year in 2011.

First fleet role:  I was a temporary secretary for a week, working for the Xerox fleet manager at the time, in the old film studios at Denham. This was in 1979. After two days they offered me a permanent position. In those days there were no computers and all fleet records were held on cards in bins; who can remember ‘strip index’ panels?

Greatest business achievement: Managing the implementation of an employee car ownership scheme in 2005, following employee feedback and dissatisfaction with the existing policy. The car ownership scheme has evolved over the years and is now entering its ninth year.  

Fleet management style: I am quite a calm person (most of the time). When you are dealing with the emotive subject of cars you need to be. I prefer to have a face-to-face conversation when there is an issue rather than just sending an email.

Biggest career influence: Probably my parents who have always supported me and my siblings. I also think it helps being in the right place at the right time.

Fleet goals at Xerox: To manage a state-of-the-art, financially-viable and environmentally-friendly fleet through the exploration of new initiatives and by working closely with our leasing partner.

Biggest mistake in business: Maybe staying in the role for too long and not exploring other career opportunities – I guess it’s too late now.

Childhood ambition:  To be an air hostess. I don’t know why, I hate flying.  

Most memorable driver moment: There have been many over the years, but one that springs to mind is a senior employee having all their wheels stolen from their BMW 6 Series convertible. Amazingly, the thieves left a piece of carpet on top of the bricks to stop any damage!

My favourite film is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I could watch it over and over again – which I can because I got the box set for Christmas.

My very first car was a Vauxhall Viva HA. I was devastated when the ‘scrap man’ took it away and only gave me £10 for it.

The pivotal moment in my life was having my baby girl. She’s 21 this year!

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