Keith Allen has been appointed the new managing director of ARI Fleet UK weeks after leaving top five FN50 leasing company ALD Automotive.
The 49-year-old told Fleet News he needed a new challenge after spending the past 17 years with ALD, and ARI provided him with the perfect opportunity.
“The ARI operation in the UK is where ALD was 10 years ago,” said Allen.
“There were other opportunities available, but the reason I chose ARI is because its core business is fleet.
“The technology is way ahead of anything else in the fleet and contract hire market; it values its people; invests in technology; and everything is about the customer.”
Allen made up his mind to leave ALD once the company had secured the Lombard Vehicle Management deal in February 2012.
“I also wanted to get ALD to more than 80,000 vehicles and we managed that in the past couple of months,” he said.
“But I needed a new challenge and wanted to give somebody else the opportunity of taking ALD forward.”
No near-term plan to provide lease funding
However, ARI has denied that Allen’s appointment signals a move into the contract hire and leasing market.
Chris Conroy, managing director for global operations at ARI, said: “We began as a lessor in 1948 in the United States and, while we provide funding throughout North America today, fleet management is our core business. It is not in ARI’s near-term plans to provide lease funding in the UK.”
ARI offers vehicle financing to clients in the US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, primarily using an ‘open end lease structure’ which means the client, and not ARI, carries the residual risk.
Its current aggregate book value is more than $3.5 billion (£2.2 billion) and consists of 225,000 units financed in the US, 30,000 in Canada, and 6,000 in Mexico.
In addition, it manages 750,000 units in the US, 150,000 in Canada and 12,000 in Mexico.
However, ARI’s focus is providing fleet users with services and consultative guidance to optimise fleet operations and lower the cost of the fleet.
“Financing is just one of numerous offerings,” said Conroy.
ARI is also a founding member of Global Fleet Services (GFS), a closely-knit partner organisation which leverages members’ regional expertise to provide leasing and management services.
With a portfolio in excess of two million vehicles managed in 75 countries, GFS is one of the largest fleet organisations in the global market.
Full responsibility for ARI Fleet UK
In the UK, as the new managing director, Allen will assume full responsibility for ARI’s business, ARI Fleet UK.
Key responsibilities will include: providing strategic leadership and vision for the company, taking a lead in both business and product development to meet the specific needs of the UK fleet market, reinforcing the global ARI culture and motivating and enthusing employees to exceed programme goals and leveraging ARI’s people, processes and technology to exceed client expectations.
“Keith Allen uniquely combines several important qualifications that made him our first choice,” said Conroy.
“These include a thorough knowledge of the UK fleet market, a strong financial management background, a history of innovative approaches to market opportunities, and a proven record of success as a leader in this industry.”
ARI currently has more than 350 clients in the UK, which utilise a variety of service combinations. It also manages more than 50,000 vehicles and drivers.
‘Strong foundations’ in place
“With Keith Allen’s hiring, we have an enhanced an already excellent team,” continued Conroy. “Now they are organised and incentivised to move the company forward.
“We also have a strong foundation of programmes and services, plus an enviable repair network, all of which is now positioned for continuous investment and substantial future growth.
“All in all, I think 2012 was an incredibly strong year for ARI Fleet UK and the work we have done will serve us well in the coming months and years.
“I think that as companies with fleets in the UK look for new ways to reduce fleet costs, we will bring a new face, new programmes and unique tools that will make us the best choice.”