Fleet News

2019 fleet industry movers and shakers

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The year kicked-off with Hyundai Motor UK announcing they were promoting former sales director Ashley Andrew to MD, following the announcement that Tony Whitehorn was stepping down.

However, it was the changes to the head of fleet operations for the three German premium manufacturers, which grabbed the most column inches.

In January, BMW confirmed its new corporate sales boss was former Mercedes-Benz head of fleet, Rob East. Fleet News had first revealed he would be replacing Steve Oliver the previous September.

Audi UK also announced it was appointing James Buxton as head of fleet sales, replacing Tom Brennan who had left the Volkswagen Group in November.

He was then announced as head of fleet at Mercedes-Benz in February, completing the trio of changes.

Another manufacturer making leadership changes in February was PSA. It announced it had appointed Alison Jones as group MD of Peugeot, Citroën, DS in the UK. She had left Volkswagen Group, where she held the position of MD of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.

In April, long-serving ACFO chairman John Pryor announced he would be standing down in June. Caroline Sandall was subsequently announced as his successor.  

Pryor had served on the board since 2006 and was re-elected at last year’s AGM to serve a further three-year term. However, he decided to resign from the fleet representative body as he neared retirement from his job as fleet and travel manager at Arcadia Group.

It was also the end of an era at ALD Automotive, with Mel Dawson deciding to step down in May, with finance director Tim Laver named the leasing company’s new managing director.

Dawson had joined ALD as commercial director in 1997, before becoming sales director in 2004 and being appointed managing director in 2012.

During his tenure he has overseen a doubling in the company’s fleet size to 145,000 vehicles.

Another leasing company making changes at the top was JCT600 Vehicle Leasing Solutions (VLS). It announced in July that Ben Creswick would be replacing Paul Walters as the new managing director, moving into the top job a year after joining the business.

Another manufacturer looking for a new fleet director was Nissan, after Iker Lazzari said in August that he was leaving Nissan to rejoin Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) as sales director.

Peter McDonald, who resigned as head of fleet at Seat in September, would be announced as Lazzari’s successor in November.

Jay Parmar’s long tenure at the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) also came to an end in August. Parmar was leaving the leasing and rental association after 19 years.

There were further changes to manufacturer fleet roles in October, with Geraint Isaac appointed to the newly created role of national fleet sales manager at MG.

The move, said the car manufacturer, helped reinforce its mid-term growth plan by furthering its presence in the fleet and local business sales market.

Ford also announced the appointment of Neil Wilson as director, Ford Fleet, for Britain and Ireland. He replaced Owen Gregory, who had moved to the post of director, commercial vehicles, FCSD, Ford of Europe.

Wilson had moved from his previous role as manager, UK dealer and consumer marketing.

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