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The Industry's Most Influential People

Date: 01 August 2006

BusinessCar Power List

Here's the definitive list of the 50 most influential people in the business car industry - are you on it?

What is influence? Sure, it's power, hence our title for this annual feature, but quantifying something that's relatively intangible is not easy. At BusinessCar we've spent the past month working to solve this challenge.

First we divided the industry into areas: vehicle sales, fleet management, fuel price, political/taxation, safety and market influence.

Some areas of a person's power are much easier to assess than others. Car sales are simple to measure, as is the size of a fleet. Political power - leading to the ability to change laws and taxes - was also easy to come to a decision on. As was the power over fuel prices - George W Bush and Osama Bin Laden were natural choices.

Safety was tricky. We tried to keep to people who were still having influence in the area - however, we couldn't ignore David Jamieson's legacy.

Hardest of all was the nebulous 'market influencer' category, defined as when the person in question says or writes something that others listen to and then act on. It's for this reason the residual values experts feature so highly. They might argue that they do not 'set' residual values, but businesses can choose to invest millions on their predictions.

So, here in reverse order, are the people we feel are the most powerful in the industry today. If you disagree or agree with our list, we'd love to hear from you. Just click on the comment section next to the online version of this feature at

Tristan Young - Editor-in-chief

The Power List

50. Roger Partridge, Leasedrive, chief executive

49. Phil Moorhouse, Northgate, managing director

Moorhouse manages the largest van rental company in the UK with a joint UK-Eire fleet of 60,000 vehicles split between 80% vans, 10% cars and the remainder trucks and HGVs. Northgate's services include fleet management, vehicle monitoring and parts buying with 88 British and Irish sites. The company influences RVs with its volume sales of ex-rental vans to retail and trade buyers.

48. Chief constable Ken Jones, ACPO, president

ACPO appears to be part of a more interventionist approach when it comes to dealing with the van-driver element of business users. Uniformed officers confronting company managers in office reception areas about the bad driving practices of their van drivers perhaps reflects a view on collective responsibility, which could be extended. Neglecting duty of care on car maintenance can also influence how much contact fleet managers have with the police.

47. Andrew Way, TLS, managing director

46. John Leigh, National Car Rental, senior vice president

45. David Murfitt, Nissan, fleet sales director

44. Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London and TfL chairman

Mayor Ken introduced congestion charging in London in February 2003 and created a transport trend that is unlikely to be reversed. His brainchild altered the logistical strategies and budgeting of fleets while theoretically diverting London-dependent vehicle users towards exempt low-CO2 options.

43. Paul Holmes, Derwent Management Services, managing director

As creator of the monthly Insight leasing costs report, Holmes provides a "definitive and credible real world set of parameters" according to one manufacturer's senior fleet exec. Insight has become the industry bible for comparing factors such as SMRs, RVs and related leasing rates.

42. Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, leader

Five years after the anniversary of 9/11, Osama bin Laden, is still perceived as a potentially disruptive influence on business confidence in general and oil prices in particular.

41. Mervyn King, Bank of England Monetary Committee, chairman

King, the Bank of England's governor, is chairman of the Bank's nine-member monetary policy committee, which meets monthly to discuss and set interest rates. Their decisions are critical for business and consumer finance, and therefore business leaders and fleet managers closely monitor the committee's verdict.

40. Trevor Finn, Pendragon, chief executive

Finn oversees the UK's and Europe's largest car retailing operation with dedicated contract hire and leasing divisions. He has extended Pendragon's footprint to include more mainstream brands and it boasts the largest number of UK Vauxhall outlets. Its strength in the business sector was extended with the takeover of Reg Vardy. As distributor and franchise holder for Cadillac, via Stratstone, Finn is aiming to realise Cadillac's business sales potential by tapping into GM's multi-brand fleet approach.

39. Iain Carmichael, Audi, head of fleet sales

38. Tim Copland, Toyota, general manager fleet

37. Paul Gray, HMRC, acting chairman

HM Revenue and Customs is fundamental to determining mileage rates, taxable allowances, CO2 tax bands and BIK levels, so Mr Gray's role cannot be underplayed.

36. Simon Oliphant, Hitachi, managing director

35. Terry Bartlett, Inchcape Fleet Solutions, managing director

34. Chris Brownridge, BMW, corporate sales manager

33. Dr Edmund Daukoru, OPEC, secretary general

The Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries set the agenda on prices at the pumps and OPEC's president Dr Edmund Daukoru believes $50 level for a barrel of crude oil is a "fair price" - whatever UK market forces dictate, there will be no return to the halcyon days of $20 to $30 a barrel.

32. Richard Schooling, Alphabet, commercial director

31. Keith Hawes, Renault, fleet and CV operations director

30. Hugh Wallace, Arnold Clark, managing director

29. Steve Harris, Peugeot, fleet and leasing director

28. Dr Susan Sharland, TRL, chief executive

27. Peter Roberts, Thatcham, chief executive

26. Geoff Robinson, Daimler Chrysler Services Fleet Management, ex-managing director

25. Ian Tilbrook, ING, managing director

24. Janet Entwistle, BT Fleet, managing director

23. Adrian Hobbs, Euro NCAP, secretary general

The Euro-wide standard for crash testing, Euro NCAP is the recognised product safety benchmark. Hobbs oversees the organisation, whose positive results are flagged up by car makers. Business operators also factor in star scores when making choices.

22. Keith Allen, ALD, managing director

21. George W Bush, USA, President

Bush's policy on energy is pivotal, as is his approach to other oil-supplying nations and regimes. He is now warning US motorists about dependence, environmental and strategic, on gasoline.

20. David Jamieson, Government, ex-Minister of State for Transport

Jamieson, who quit Parliament in April last year, left an enduring legacy of controversial legislation. It included road pricing and more stringent penalties for "phone driving", though his keen advocacy of cleaner vehicles was blunted by reductions in Government grants for lower emission cars. His successor is David Ladyman.

19. Vince Kinner, Volkswagen, head of fleet services

18. Mike Wear, Motability, operations director

Wear has rehabilitated Motability and removed its stigma as a dumping ground for daily rental volume. It is now accepted by manufacturers as an effective leasing firm rather than a volume-enhancing means of destroying RVs. His regime has attracted most carmakers back to the fold and Motability's fleet should rise from 440,000 units (6% of new car sales) to nearer 700,000 vehicles by 2012.

17. Rich Green, GE Fleet, managing director

16. Christopher Macgowan, SMMT, chief executive

Macgowan understands fully the pivotal importance of the business car sector, and is a prime mover in establishing an industry-wide OFT-endorsed code of practice, with its inevitable impact on fleet sellers and buyers. One aide says he has "more strings to his bow and fingers in pies than any industry figure".

15. Jean-Marc Torre, Arval, CEO

14. George Grant, Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance, ex-managing director

13. Garry Hobson, Masterlease, managing director

12. Sue Hanson, IDS Topcalc, data manager

11. Saul Parsonson, Lombard Vehicle Management, MD

10. Martin Ward, CAP, manufacturer relations manager

9. Geoffrey Podger, Health and Safety Executive, chief executive

Podger became the HSE's chief exec last year as safety, corporate accountability and duty of care assumed greater importance. Vehicle preparation standards also come within the influential HSE remit.

8. Geoff Paterson, Glass's Guide, senior car editor

Paterson has been instrumental in sustaining Glass's role as a touchstone for RVs in the business car arena through his instinctive grasp of the marketplace. "Shrewd, independent and personable" is a colleague's description of Paterson.

7. John Lewis, BVRLA, director general

Six years in the director general's chair at the BVRLA has earned Lewis respect across the spectrum of leasing, rental and van operators alike. Applying the "we propose, they dispose" edict, he has been an effective lobbyist on issues including congestion charge liability, while his brainchild, the Fleet Disposal Values internet service, is proving to be an objective and holistic value and supply channel fleet indicator.

6. Maurice Howkins, Vauxhall, fleet director

Industry veteran and old-school fleet operator, Howkins has introduced a more holistic GM approach to Vauxhall's UK business sales strategy. This has involved integrating Saab and Chevrolet into a one-stop shop operation, benefiting the Swedish brand in volume terms but arguably compromising its RVs. Cadillac is also coming on board as a bit player. Howkins has also appreciated the ever-widening spectrum of choice on offer to corporate drivers and adjusted to the Vectra not being the inevitable repmobile of choice or prescription.

5. Kevin Griffin, Ford, fleet operations director

In an increasingly fragmented business car market, Griffin has helped Ford adjust to defection from traditional mainstream large family (Mondeo) fleet models to prestige counterparts and niche Ford cars such as the C-max and now the S-max. He orchestrated the October 2005 pre-BIK change "dash for diesel" and endorses Ford's nascent flexible fuel strategy.

4. David Brennan, LeasePlan, managing director

As the exec in charge of the UK outpost for LeasePlan, the world's largest vehicle management group, Brennan lists company car tax, driver health and safety, and running greener vehicles as major challenges, and is known within the company for an almost evangelical zeal about fleet. He views vehicle management as a strategic imperative "whether an organisation runs three cars or 3000."

3. Nigel Stead, Autolease, managing director

Autolease's Nigel Stead continues to oversee 135,000 vehicles despite the company being surpassed in recent years by Lex for leadership of the UK motor leasing sector. Stead is not an impulsive advocate of the personality cult but his business skills are ideally suited to managing the financial risks involved in owning and managing large numbers of vehicles.

2. Jon Walden, Lex, managing director

Waldon has overseen and been the architect behind sustained growth at Lex as it has become the UK's largest lease firm through mergers and acquisitions. A "big picture" strategist and genuine opinion leader, his business strategy is underpinned by an enthusiasm for cars, and staff are encouraged from the top to make no apology for operating in the car industry.

1. Gordon Brown, Government, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Prime Minister-in-waiting and notoriously "prudent" custodian of the nation's purse strings, Gordon Brown's fiscal and taxation management impacts directly on the business car sector.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, and Chancellor since May 1997, has avoided potential extra fleet costs, public backlash and disruptive action by pegging fuel duty as oil prices climbed. But the dramatic growth in diesel car sales, the fuel of choice for most business car users, owes nothing to the Treasury under his stewardship, which has refused to tilt the pump price advantage away from petrol via positive duty discrimination.

Equally, the Government's fiscal support for green fuel initiatives has been inconsistent, an example of which is the inadequate funds to subsidise LPG conversions.