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BusinessCar Power List 2007

Date: 05 September 2007

After a successful outing last year it's back - the definitive list of the industry's 50 most influential people

25. Simon Oliphant, Hitachi, MD

Oliphant is one of the most personable fleet bosses in the industry, while Hitachi has shown strong company growth too.

24. Keith Allen, ALD, MD

Allen keeps car leasing firm ALD at the top of the satisfaction charts year-on-year.

23. Roddy Graham, ICFM, chairman

A new entry thanks to Graham's huge efforts raising the standing of the Institute of Car Fleet Managers, and is one of the heads of the merged Leasedrive Velo firm. Also takes time out to write a BusinessCar blog.

22. Mike Betts, Motability Operations, chief executive

A total of 450,000 vehicles makes for not only the biggest fleet in the UK, but in Europe too. With more than 6% of all new sales within the palm of his hand, Betts' operational decisions at count.

21. Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive

Following nine years service Macgowan steps down at the end of 2007. He will be missed and his successor will struggle to fill his shoes. Drops five places due to his diminishing influence.

20. Vince Kinner, VW, Head of fleet services

Fleet chief Kinner, just behind George Bush, has seen a sales hike for Volkswagen of 7% in the first six months of the year that has taken them to number three in the business car market.

19. George Bush, USA, President

Bush's foreign policy and his response to the 911 terrorist attacks have been held by many commentators as directly responsible for destabilising the world's economy and inciting radicalism, while his irreverence to the environment are almost as damning. However, things may be changing - Bush now supports biofuels to reduce the nation's reliance on Middle East oil, and that could kickstart a trend in the UK.

18. Rich Green, GE Fleet, MD

Green has overseen significant growth.

17. Ruth Kelly, Government, transport secretary

Kelly's right-wing beliefs and the odd front page political howler have helped make her newsworthy fodder. But if you believe some then she's a PM in waiting who already was the youngest-ever female member of the cabinet, which suggests she might be ruthless in the dog-eat-dog world of politics. What's in store for us? Raising the driving age to 18 and rolling out congestion charging to other cities including Manchester.

16. Jean-Marc Torre, Arval, CEO

Arval's dominance of the fuel card market remains secure.

15. Peter Tatlock, Masterlease, MD

An active year keeping pace with brand additions at GM UK.

14. Sue Hanson, IDS Topcalc, data manager

Down two spots working for one of the more controversial costs experts.

13. Alistair Darling, Government, Chancellor

A change to a new Chancellor and no Budget to judge them on means this role has slipped from first to 13th.

12. Rob Bailey, Lombard Vehicle Management, head of LVM

Slipped one place due to new entries, but the firm's seen steady growth.

11. Julie Jenner, ACFO, chairman

Freshly re-elected with a unanimous vote, Jenner has received the vote of confidence she needs to press ahead with the job of representing the UK's fleet industry. She is a plain-speaking key solutions manager for GE who so far called for a vast range of changes to how we run our fleets, from advising Government to modernise tax relief to co-operating with the 'Think!' road safety campaign while working at the forefront of managing corporate responsibility and dealing with emerging green issues.

10. Jeff Paterson, Glass's guide, senior car editor

It is a credit to Paterson that, with less of visible public role than CAP's Ward (below), he remains within our top 10, such is the respect and 'fear' car makers have for him and Glass's.

9. Martin Ward, CAP, manufacturer relationships manager

Known in the industry as 'Mr Residual', Ward is both feared and revered by manufactures as the man who can make or break a car's RV. His trademark sense of humour mean there's never a dull moment in the serious business of evaluating new cars.

8. Geoffrey Podger, HSE, director general

Must be eagerly awaiting the Corporate Manslaughter Bill that's set to hit the statute books in 2008 after delays. Until then his power remains invested in the HSE's key role as the Governmental body responsible for drafting and enforcing the guidelines that manage risk for those driving for work.

7. John Lewis, BVRLA, director general

Lewis, in his seventh year of tenure at the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, shows little sign of mellowing. This year he has unleashed the full force of his might to tackle brokers, attack London Mayor Ken Livingstone's congestion charge, trip up the SMMT and do battle with the DVLA. Even the humble TV car journalist hasn't escaped the leasing and rental association's wrath. Here's to another year of conflict.

6. Kevin Griffin, Ford, fleet operations director

Despite doom mongers predicting the worst, Ford has been out there doing what it does best - sell. Sales are up by a solid 3.7% and Ford leads the charts. Sure, the product is some of the finest in the business, but it's the way Griffin has adapted so well that impresses. Niches? Not a problem, and this year his skills have been tested to the limit with the introduction of the all-new Mondeo. Despite a declining segment in terms of volume, who's prepared to bet against the Ford team?

5. Maurice Howkins, GM UK, fleet sales director

Another consistent showing for Vauxhall, which in tough trading conditions sees 0.5% growth. As well as overseeing that, Howkins has also had a raft of new brands to contend with - he has his work cut out with the eventual incorporation of Cadillac, Corvette and Hummer into GM UK.

4. David Brennan, Leaseplan, MD

Running the third largest leaser, you'd think Brennan would spend his days hanging out with the bean counters chasing unrealistic sales targets while ruthlessly shaving cost from the business. Not so. He beats targets early then settles down to do what he loves best - improving customer service. He is close to what some call obsessed with his 'Good to Great' scheme of company-wide improvements, which if it were wood stain would do exactly what it said on the tin.

3. Jon Walden, Lex, MD

On the eve of becoming what BusinessCar is dubbing a 250,000-vehicle 'Superleaser', Walden is on the precipice of having an unprecedented hold on not only the car industry but 'our' industry. Fear not, we're in safe hands.

2. Nigel Stead, Autolease & BVRLA, MD & chairman

Jon Walden at number three in the Power List above must be asking how on earth his honourable colleague Nigel Stead has leapfrogged him despite all the incredible work to make Lex the biggest leasing company in the history of the car industry. But Stead has another trick up his sleeve. In May he became chairman of BVRLA, adding a new slant to his position in the industry - political influence, representing the whole of the leasing industry.

1. Gordon Brown, Government, PM

Our reigning BusinessCar powerhouse returns in pole.

It's been a good year and time for the most patient man in politics to "try his utmost", but will he benefit us? In his last budget as Chancellor he dithered with AMAPs, but benefited biofuel to the tune of 2% off benefit-in-kind. Now at number 10 we wait with baited breath.

Environmentalism is lead from the top - it wins votes after all - but how will it hit us? Only time will tell.