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BusinessCar Power List 2009

Date: 08 September 2009

Their decisions, actions and words shape the way the business car market behaves. Here, we reveal the 50 most powerful people in the fleet industry

Welcome to the fourth BusinessCar Power List, the only feature to take the people that have the biggest impact on the business car industry - from fleet sales directors to heads of state - and rank them according to the influence they hold over the sector.

With 2009 being such a tumultuous year for the economy, let alone the fleet market, you'd expect there to be some serious changes to the list. And you'd be right: in a top 10 containing two new additions, only one person remains in the same position as they were last year.

As ever, plenty of readers will disagree with our verdicts, but that's something we welcome, so feel free to leave your comments at or email

50. Peter Roberts, Thatcham, chief executive

Thatcham's fleet importance has waned as green issues rise above safety in terms of significance. The organisation still has a big say over insurance and repair costs, though.

49. Mark Roden, Toyota, general manager, fleet

Roden has recently been promoted to head Toyota's fleet operation in the UK. Sales of 18,500 vehicles for the first half of the year means he just makes the BusinessCar Power List.

48. Nigel Walker, Citroen Contract Motoring

National sales manager Walker runs Citroen's leasing division, controlling some 22,000 vehicles at the last count.

47. Neal Francis, Pendragon Contracts, MD

Francis runs the leasing division of Britain's largest dealer group, Pendragon. While sales at car dealerships have been poor for most of the year, prior to the introduction of scrappage, the leasing side of the business takes longer to react to changes in the market.

46. Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City, Councilor in charge of transport

Urquhart is Nottingham City Council's lead councilor on transport, and as a result is spearheading the introduction of the city's Workplace Parking Levy. As the pioneer for the controversial scheme, Nottingham will be under the spotlight to see how the introduction is handled and then to see how successful it is at reducing congestion.

45, Abdalla El-Badri, Opec, secretary general

Oil group boss El-Badri only slips two places in the chart because fuel prices aren't quite as high as this time last year, although they still have a huge bearing on fleet costs.

44. Michael Swan, HM Treasury, head of tax admin

The man tasked with clearing up the confusion over new capital allowance rates for 2009 finally did so this year.

43. Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP, secretary general

Safety is still a priority for fleet, but cost is the number one issue at the moment as the recession continues to bite. Van Ratingen controls the most commonly used safety standard for cars.

42. Barack Obama, USA, President

Sworn in as the 44th president of the USA at the start of this year, the 48-year-old has already been credited with having a more calming influence in the middle-east than his predecessor George W Bush, which has helped to stabilise the price of oil. In addition, Obama's stance on climate change has also seen the USA promote alternative fuels for cars, and he will also have a major influence in dragging the world out of recession.

41. Iain Carmichael, Audi, fleet sales director

Despite falling car sales across the industry Carmichael has overseen an increase in market share for Audi, with the prestige brand now firmly inside the top five biggest fleet sellers' list.

40. Steve Chater, BMW, corporate sales director

Chater took over BMW's corporate sales from Chris Brownridge at the start of this year and will oversee the firm's continued CO2 lead in fleet with its Efficient Dynamics technology.

39. Terry Bartlett, Inchcape, MD

Running a fleet of 29,000 vehicles at leasing firm Inchcape, Bartlett, rises five places in the Power List due to the falling status of the car maker fleet bosses.

38. Simon Oliphant, Hitachi, MD

Just 5500 vehicles cover ninth to 14th in the top 20 leasing firms and Simon Oliphant's Hitachi sits in the middle of that group with 42,400 cars. He recently told BusinessCar that the company sees itself as in a strong position compared to its rivals, and is looking for acquisition opportunities.

37. Don Moore, Enterprise, vice-president of sales, UK & Ireland

US-born anglophile Moore runs a daily rental fleet of 38,000 vehicles. Enterprise is one of the few rental firms to buy and sell their own cars, rather than operate them on a 'guaranteed buyback' scheme. Rental bosses have become more important in the past year due to the rising cost of hiring cars.

36. David Cameron, Conservatives, leader

As Labour's position in power weakens even further, not only will Cameron's opinions on all things transport count as we near a general election, but so will his comments on how a Conservative government will tackle the recession.

35. Koei Saga, Toyota/Lexus, managing officer

Saga is one of the leading engineers in hybrid vehicle technology. In 1995 he helped draft the technical outline for the first generation Toyota Prius. He is now in charge of all hybrid engineering at Toyota and its Lexus subsidiary, and as such has a significant impact on the hybrid technology reaching fleets today. The Lexus RX450h recently won a BusinessCar Techie award for its 148g/km of CO2 - incredible for a large 4x4 - while the new Toyota Prius emits just 87g/km.

34. Hugh Wallace, Arnold Clark Vehicle Management, MD

Wallace is in charge of the largest car dealer group-owned lease company, with a fleet of 40,000 vehicles.

33. Janet Entwistle, BT Fleet, MD

One place higher than Wallace in this list and the chart for the country's top fleets is Entwistle, who heads the 42,000-vehicle BT fleet operation.

32. Paul Everitt, SMMT, chief executive

Appointed to the post of carmarkers' mouthpiece last year, Everitt made clear his position on the business car market in 2009 by not including any specific fleet requests within the SMMT's scrappage scheme lobbying, hence his fall in the Power List.

31. Boris Johnson, TfL, London mayor

Johnson is still in the enviable position of being the Tory with the most power in fleet due to his position in charge of Transport for London. After he was elected to his position he pleased drivers by scrapping the planned price increases in the London congestion charge and is consulting on scrapping the western extension. Now he's announced he will review the way the c-charge treats low-emission cars, raising the possibility of a fully CO2-based system.

30. Mike Betts, Motability, chief executive

Betts heads what's technically the UK's largest leasing firm, although it serves only those receiving the Government's mobility allowance. The organisation has a RV influence, however.

29. Geoffrey Podger, HSE, director general

Podger has slipped down the Power List due to the absence of a work-driving test case under the 18 month-old Corporate Manslaughter Act and the revelation that the HSE's own work-driving policy on licence checking is far from best practice.

28. Vince Kinner, Volkswagen, fleet sales director

Long-standing Kinner presides over one of fleet's most desirable brands. The new Golf and Polo, as well as more Bluemotion low-CO2 models, have meant a busy 2009.

27. Mark Sinclair, Alphabet, director

Sinclair is one of BusinessCar's weekly online bloggers and is enjoying his first full year as boss of Alphabet since taking over from Richard Schooling.

26. Phil Robson, Peugeot, director, fleet & leasing

Robson's not only responsible for fleet sales at Peugeot, he also controls the leasing arm, so unlike other car-guys he's climbed, not fallen this year.

25. Chris Jolly, IDS Topcalc, forecasting editor

Leading expert in future values at the RV and costs analysis outfit.