Fleet management specialist CLM has appointed Simon Cotton, 49, as its new head of account management, responsible for overseeing and managing new and existing client relationships.
Replacing Chris Allgood who has joined a leading local motor manufacturer, Cotton is responsible for a team of customer relationship managers and the management of customer service levels to all CLM clients.
A hugely experienced corporate financier, he has 30 years’ experience in the banking industry, including 18 years with the Bank of Scotland (BoS) where he specialised in the leasing and funding of large vehicle fleets.
However, after the 2008 credit crunch when BoS was merged with Lloyds TSB, his role changed and he become more involved with automotive dealer finance – latterly serving as head of products, pricing and marketing at Black Horse Consumer Finance.
“After the merger, my time was increasingly spent on projects that focussed upon cost reduction and risk mitigation,” he said.
“This was necessary and understandable in the financial climate at the time but I missed customer contact and ‘the buzz’ of structuring deals. So, I decided it was time to take stock and consider a new direction,” he said.
Cotton had known CLM for many years as he had often worked with the Newport Pagnell fleet management specialist on joint presentations to corporate clients. When the account management position became available, he was thrilled to be accepted in the role.
“I have known CLM for at least 15 years and am delighted to be joining the business at this stage in its development.
“I think it speaks volumes for CLM’s ability to satisfy the needs of its customers that many of those corporate customers that we both pitched to all those years ago remain CLM customers today,” he said.
Cotton said that even after a few short weeks into his role, the differences between a smaller independent fleet management provider and a large banking-based business were obvious.
“An independent such as CLM is smaller, nimbler and more flexible. It is able to personalise its services and tailor and refine its products to meet the exact needs of its clients in a way that a large bank-backed organisation never can.”
Customer service is of paramount importance at CLM. Clients receive regular visits from a strategic client relationship manager to discuss the best strategy and policy for their fleet, or help to refine the existing one.
The CRM team is constantly challenged with ways of improving fleet strategy for its clients and the setting of objectives against which service levels and cost initiatives are measured.
Tony Hulatt, managing director at CLM, said: “We are delighted to welcome Simon to the senior management team here at CLM.
“With his extensive experience in the fleet funding arena and his deep understanding of the needs of corporate customers, we fully expect him to make a significant contribution to the continued success of the business and wish him all possible success in his new role.”