Fleet News

Fleets asked for views on Kwik-Fit shake-up

FLEET decision-makers have been invited to help shape the future of fast-fit company Kwik-Fit following a major management shake-up at the firm, including its fleet division.

Tim Parker, brought in to run Kwik-Fit by its majority owners CVC Capital Partners, said the call highlighted the importance fleet would have in restoring the fortunes of the ailing business once a new structure was in place.

He was speaking following a week of high drama at Kwik-Fit and its fleet subsidiary Kwik-Fit Fleet brought on by an exodus of senior management.

Kwik-Fit Fleet managing director Ron Bambra is retiring from the company, while director Simon English is also leaving. The departures came just days after the announcement that two Kwik-Fit chiefs, managing director Alastair Kerr and group finance director Stan Owens were also leaving.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Sir Tom Farmer, the founder of Kwik-Fit, chairman and chief executive, was also leaving.

Details of the shake-up were revealed just days after European venture capital company CVC completed its £330 million deal to take control of the company from Ford.

Ford, which paid about £1 billion for the business, retains a minority share and has a place on the board.

Following the shake-up Parker said: 'Fleet is a critical part of our business which we want to expand and look at ways of ensuring and improving the level and quality of service our business customers receive. It is very early days, but I am always willing to listen to suggestions from the fleet industry.

'If fleet decision makers have any suggestions they want to make on the company's future, they can write to me, because I feel our relationship with customers should be as open as possible.'

Parker insisted plans for European expansion were still continuing using current brands. He added that the shake-up of the company was at its very earliest stages and was aimed at streamlining the company's management structure.

Big names go in 'major structural change'

AS part of the radical shake-up, Mike Wise, managing director of Kwik-Fit group company FTM Tyrefit, now takes on the additional role of sales director of Kwik-Fit Fleet.

Last week, he sent letters to the company's business customers informing them of the changes promising there will be no adverse effect on service levels.

Wise also congratulated out-going managing director Ron Bambra and director Simon English on the role they had played at the company.

The move is just part of a reorganisation aimed at creating 'major structural change' in Kwik-Fit designed to inject some impetus back into the business.

As the company has expanded and new divisions have been added, it has led to growing layers of management which has created an ever-larger distance between the bosses and garage workers who are the key to the company's success. In the face of falling operating profits, Tim Parker, chief executive of the company which owns Kwik-Fit, is trying to delayer the complicated management structure and get businesses talking to each other more effectively.

His first step is the creation of a new board structure. It will be made up of new chairman Sir Trevor Chinn, a yet to be appointed finance director, a representative of Ford and Donald Mackenzie and Rob Lucas of CVC.

However, even this may not run as smoothly as planned, as Sir Trevor is still embroiled in the process of finding himself a successor as chairman at the RAC. This follows the decision of his heir apparent, Alan Bowkett, to stand down following 'differences in management approach'.

As part of the changes, about 45-50 of the 60-strong staff based at Kwik Fit's Murrayfield headquarters will be transferred to a new base at Broxburn, following the offices closure in March next year. The Murrayfield offices will then be sold. The future of Kwik Fit Fleet's offices in St Albans is unclear.

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