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BusinessCar Power List 2011

Date: 20 September 2011

BusinessCar Power List

Just who are the most important people in fleet? The people whose words and actions shape the industry? Paul Barker introduces our annual listing of the 50 most influential individuals in corporate car sector.

This is the BusinessCar Power List, the only place the industry's big hitters can see how the rank against each other. As with the five before it, this sixth annual Power List of fleet's most influential figures will create talking points across the country as BusinessCar dares to rank the most important and powerful in the business car arena.

After the turmoil of recent times, the last 12 months have been less painful, though there's still plenty of change at the sharp end of our 50. Only two of the top ten from last year stick in their same spot, and in that top ten are a new number one, three new entries and a returning executive. As always, feedback is welcome, either at or by emailing

50 Geoffrey Podger, HSE, Chief executive (no change)

Despite all the focus on Corporate Manslaughter legislation in recent years, and the first prosecution for a work-related accident earlier this year, the industry still waits for a case involving driving on business.

49 Peter Lambert, Kwik-Fit Fleet, MD (new entry)

Since taking over from Mike Wise just over a year ago, Lambert has declared he wants to see more fleet servicing and MoT business to complement Kwik-Fit Fleet's domination of the tyre market. That has the potential to include looking into ideas such as increased collect and deliver services or extended opening hours if they will help grow appeal to fleets. Former Chrysler UK and Mercedes commercial vehicle boss Lambert is also developing Kwik-Fit Fleet's tyre hotel plans for winter tyre fitment, which involves storing the summer tyres so fleets don't have to worry about finding somewhere to leave them.

48 Mike Betts, Motability, Chief executive ?3

Motability remains the UK's largest fleet and therefore the way Betts' organisation acts in terms of vehicle acquisition and disposal impacts upon residual values for the whole business car industry.

47 Anthony Ainsworth, Avis, Commercial director ?1

Ainsworth took on another eight sales managers earlier this year as the business looks to maintain what it claims is "double digit" growth in 2010.

46 Simon Tse, DVLA, Chief executive (new entry)

The DVLA is currently looking at the possibility of scrapping the old-style paper licences, and potentially the paper counterpart of the current photocard licences. Not expected before 2014,and only after a consultation, the move would push fleets towards electronic checking of licences to ensure drivers are legal.

45 Paul Everitt, SMMT, Chief executive ?1

As the boss of the car manufacturers' association the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Everitt has been putting the makers' views forward on issues including European car and van CO2 targets.

44 Thomas Broberg, Volvo Car Corporation, Senior technical advisor safety ?8

The City Safety system picked up a BusinessCar Techie Award last year, and, with increased fitment, should have a dramatic effect on low-speed accidents and insurance claims. Other manufacturers are following suit, but Volvo was first to fit the system as widespread standard equipment.

43 Mike Williams, HM Treasury, Director, business and international tax (no change)

Williams and his team are responsible for all the transport taxes within the Treasury department.

42 Tim Buchan, Zenith Provecta MD (new entry)

Buchan took over from former MD Andrew Cope last year. The firm continues to grow in influence, thanks to a big investment by Morgan Stanley, taking a 60% share in the business.

41 James Douglas, Nissan, Corporate sales director ?4

It's been a big year for Douglas, with the launch of the UK's first full electric car, the Leaf. The Nissan Qashqai continues to sell very well, and he has also overseen the fleet launches of the Juke and new Micra models.

40 Koei Saga, Toyota Lexus, Managing officer, hybrid powertrain ?2

Toyota and Lexus continue to lead the way for hybrid powertrains, with the new 94g/km Lexus CT200h the latest addition. Next up are the Yaris Hybrid, predicted to come in below 80g/km, and the new Lexus GS.

39 Darren Payne, Renault, Director, fleet and commercial vehicle operations ?8

Payne has overseen a resurgence for Renault in the fleet sector, with the brand finishing 2010 104.9% up year-on-year for fleet registrations, putting it up three places to number seven in the registrations chart. That's as well as laying the groundwork in the corporate sector for four new electric vehicles coming in the next three years, starting with the Kangoo van by the end of 2011, before three passenger vehicles arrive in the next couple of years.

38 Steve Archer, Inchcape Fleet Solutions, Fleet services director (new entry)

Archer replaces Terry Bartlett. Inchcape launched into the salary sacrifice sector late last year, and the firm also scooped a BusinessCar Techie Award recently for its Downtime Management SMR system.

37 Michiel van Ratingen, EuroNCAP, Secretary general ?4

EuroNCAP continues to develop, with new more stringent tests introduced last year. The next step is to offer rewards for active safety systems that prevent crashes in the first place, rather than the current version that only tests what happens in the event of an impact.

36 Don Moore, Enterprise, VP of sales, UK and Ireland ?2

Double BusinessCar Award-winning Enterprise puts its continued success down to a whole series of initiatives designed to improve service to daily rental customers.

35 Iain Carmichael, Audi, Head of fleet sales (no change)

As always, there have been plenty of new additions to Audi's ever-growing line-up in 2011, with Carmichael overseeing the fleet launches of the A1, A6 and Q3 in the last year or so.

34 Simon Oliphant, Hitachi, Managing director ?1

Oliphant oversaw a 6% growth in profit for Hitachi last year, in a 12 months that also included the acquisition of van rental company Newtown Vehicle Rentals.

33 Dave Bowen, BT Fleet, Managing director (new entry)

Bowen replaced Janet Entwistle (who had run the firm for the past 11 of her 23 years in the business) in November 2010, having joined as finance director in 2009.

32 Hugh Wallace, Arnold Clark, MD (no change)

Wallace will be in charge of a top 10 leasing firm once Alphabet's takeover of ING consolidates the top of the charts.

31 Chris Jolly, IDS Topcalc, Forecasting editor ?1

Jolly is in charge of the forecasting at whole-life costs expert International Decision Systems.

30 Bob Contreras, Northgate, Chief executive ?8

Contreras is quietly going about the business of running the UK's largest van rental firm, including a restructure earlier this year, while smaller rivals have floundered in the past 12 months.

29 Steve Chater, BMW, Corporate sales director ?5

BMW is now the UK's number four manufacturer by registrations with 62,000 last year; throw in another 15,000 Minis and Chater's influence is clear. The next 12 months will be busy, with the new 1-series and the start of a push into fleet for Mini with the lower medium Countryman set to occupy his time, as well as a sub-120g/km 520d ED model and other low-emission additions including a sub-120g/km X1 small off-roader. And that's without the small matter of leveraging BMW's considerable investment sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics. Chater claims to have had some joy with large firms liking the idea of BMW's investment in the UK, with engine and manufacturing plants also established here.

28 Su McLean-Tooke, HMRC, Policy advisor ?1

McLean-Tooke is the contact point within HM Revenue & Customs for bodies such as ACFO to lobby for members' interests, and 2011 has seen changes to fuel rates that many in the industry had been calling for.

27 Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City Council, Planning and transport boss ?1

With Bristol, Liverpool and others set to follow suit, the implementation of Nottingham's controversial Workplace Parking Levy over the next six months will be keenly watched by those with agendas on both sides of the fence.

26 David Bird, Leasedrive, CEO (new entry)

It could be seen as a seminal year for what was formerly Leasedrive Velo. Recently rebranded as Leasedrive Group, the firm now manages the entire Masterlease portfolio, doubling its fleet size overnight and pushing it up into the big league. Bird has pledged to stick to what Leasedrive has always done best, which means a focus on blue-chip clients as it manages the Masterlease business for finance provider Investec while seeking to migrate customers over to Leasedrive. Although there will be a slight contraction - around 5000 units - as the less desirable business is run out, Bird is looking to grow Leasedrive through both more blue-chip customers and increased sale of services such as rental or vehicle management to the existing portfolio.

25 Graham Wheeler, Volkswagen Group Leasing MD ?4

Volkswagen Group Leasing jumped three places in BusinessCar's leasing charts, with volumes now almost touching 50,000 cars.

24 Roddy Graham, ICFM, Chairman ?6

It has been a fairly quiet year for the fleet industry's primary training organisation, although the vocal Graham has, as always, had plenty to say in his BusinessCar blogs.

23 Dr Vince Cable, Government, Business, Innovation & Skills secretary ?14

Although access to credit is still a big issue for many smaller organisations, Dr Cable's influence on the UK business car market just isn't what it was 12 months ago.

22 Boris Johnson, London, Mayor ?7

London's enthusiastic and media-friendly mayor may have one eye on next year's Olympics, but his impact for the business car sector has been felt in a variety of ways. Changes to the London congestion charge have meant Euro5 emissions standard vehicles under 100g/km are now billed nothing for entering the zone, while the auto pay function ends the danger of forgetting to pay for vehicles registered to the scheme. That has, though, come at a cost, with the charge being increased to £10, or £9 for auto pay vehicles. Johnson has also pledged to make London a world leader for electric vehicles, although there are doubts about the effective delivery of charging points in the capital, and is also pushing to speed up roadworks and re-phase traffic lights in an attempt to keep vehicles moving as much as possible.

21 Vince Kinner, Volkswagen, Head of fleet services ?6

VW's fleet sales hit almost 100,000 last year, putting it in third place and comfortably ahead of the chasing pack. New Passat and Jetta models have kept Kinner busy in 2011.

20 John Jenkins. GE Capital, Head of GE Capital ?4

Jenkins has now been at the helm for over two years, and heads a company continually rumoured to be negotiating to buy Lombard, although those talks are recently said to have hit major sticking points.

19 Bob Middleton, Mercedes-Benz Finance, Managing director (new entry)

Middleton is currently heading Mercedes-Benz Fleet Management as boss of the entire finance division, though a replacement for former fleet management boss Steve Durrant is yet to be announced.

18 Ken McCall, Europcar, Managing director (new entry)

McCall was appointed as boss of the leading rental firm late last year, and his enthusiasm for the industry since joining from DHL is obvious. The firm is pushing its free delivery service within 15 miles, as well as looking to extend opening hours to try and boost customer service levels.

17 Phil Robson, Peugeot, Director of fleet and leasing ?1

Robson has overall responsibility for Peugeot Contract Hire's 18,000 units, as well as the number five brand in terms of business car registrations, and enjoyed the well-received new upper medium 508 model's launch in 2011.

16 John Lewis, BVRLA, Chief executive ?5

The rental and leasing association boss has spent plenty of 2011 manoeuvring behind the scenes to ensure his industry's views are heard.

15 Keith Allen, ALD, Managing director ?8

ALD is increasingly positioning itself as a 'white label' specialist, winning the contracts to run both Ford and Mazda's leasing operation from Lex in 2011, adding to the Kia, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Vauxhall and Saab versions it already operates.

14 Stuart Houlston, Lombard, Managing director ?9

Still a major player in the UK market with a fleet of 85,000 cars, but Lombard's future has long been the subject of speculation (GE Capital is persistently linked with a bid), leaving customers and staff unsettled.

13 Phillip Hammond, Government, Transport secretary ?1

Now properly settled into his post, the transport secretary has aired his views on increasing motorway speed limits to 80mph and the fact that manufacturers need to work harder to illustrate the benefits of low-CO2 vehicles. Also gaffed when confusing winter tyres with studded ones when the snows hit last year.

12 Mark Jowsey, KeeResources, Director of Manufacturer Liaison ?1

KwikCarcost's penetration of the business car sector continues to grow, and Jowsey's gentle influence is helping increase its presence.

11 Jeff Patterson, Glass's, Senior car editor ?1

Glass's has had a fairly quiet year, although it and Cap are still the biggest residual value voices in the business. The organisation is in something of a period of change as it gears up for the launch of a whole new system in 2012.

10 David Cameron, Government, Prime Minister ?36

The Prime Minister's continual attempts to cut public sector budgets is his biggest current influence on the business car market, for both company car and grey fleet users.

9 Martin Ward, Cap, Manufacturer relations manager ?1

The loudest voice in the residual value arena continues to make his point to manufacturers in his own inimitable fashion. Ward influences the specification of large numbers of vehicles ahead of their UK launches to ensure they are suitable for the new and used markets.

8 James Taylor, Vauxhall, Fleet sales director (new entry)

Taylor replaced the long-standing Maurice Howkins in April, stepping up from national fleet manager while Howkins moved to the new role of fleet sales customer relationship director. With the sale of Saab and separation of Chevrolet, Taylor has been left with a steady Vauxhall line-up devoid of big change-over activity and comfortably in second place in the fleets sales chart. There are a series of new models looming though, including the three-door Astra GTC and, next year, the new Zafira, currently fleet's favourite mini-MPV.

7 Kevin Griffin, Ford, Director fleet operations ?1

Just the small matter of launching the UK's most popular business car in 2011 for Griffin, who has overseen the new Focus's introduction to the UK market. Another key message for 2011 has been to explain new engine technology to fleets, with 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines making downsizing on the Focus, Mondeo and even S-max and Galaxy people carriers easier than ever.

6 Bart Beckers, Arval, CEO (new entry)

Beckers replaced previous incumbent Jean-Marc Torre in February of this year to head the leasing, fleet management and fuel card firm, having been with Leaseplan for the past 15 years, most recently heading the company's operation in France.

5 Richard Schooling, Alphabet, Chief executive (new entry)

It has been a massive 12 months for Richard Schooling, who a year ago would have been long odds to be back in this list at all, and certainly this high up. When Alphabet's former managing director returned to the role in April after four years as BMW Group Financial Services' chief operating officer, replacing the Europe-bound Mark Sinclair, it seemed like an interesting move. The pieces fell into place over the following weeks as first Alphabet announced a restructuring and then sensationally bought ING Car Lease in a £570m deal that should be complete by the end of this year, catapulting Alphabet into the UK's top three in the leasing charts with a fleet of just under 100,000 vehicles.

4 Julie Jenner, ACFO, Chairman (no change)

It has been a successful 12 months for Julie Jenner, the leader of the car fleet managers' association. A resurgent ACFO awards night, and successful lobbying of HMRC for changes to the advisory fuel rates left Jenner with little to complain about.

3 David Brennan, Leaseplan, Managing director (no change)

Earlier this year, Brennan told BusinessCar that he's looking to grow Leaseplan to around 150,000 vehicles, from its current level of just under 130,000, giving the firm a share of around 10% of the UK market. The man who has been in charge of Leaseplan since January 2006 admitted acquisition would be welcomed "if an opportunity arises".

2 George Osborne, Government, Chancellor ?1

Osborn announced predictable and progressive evolution of motoring taxes in the latest Budget, and confirmed EV incentives, at least into next year. But it would be handy if he clarified future BIK rates so drivers on three- or four-year deals know what tax they'll pay through the life of their company car. Fingers crossed for that in the 2012 Budget, as the interim November Pre-Budget Report has been scrapped.

1 Rick Francis, Lex Autolease, Operations director (new entry)

The combined 335,000-vehicle fleets of Lex Vehicle Leasing and Lloyds TSB Autolease have finally merged, two years after the joining together of HBOS and Lloyds TSB, the banking giants that owned them respectively.

The process was overseen by the recently retired Nigel Stead, who had previously headed the Lloyds TSB element of the giant that now leads the British leasing market. Rick Francis has taken over the leasing company that has more cars on it books than the next three players combined, and that's including the forthcoming Alphabet takeover of ING Car Lease. He joined Lex in 2002 as finance director, and returned to the industry in 2009 after some time away in the mortgage sector.

Earlier this year, Francis told BusinessCar of the "huge relief" it would be for the integration to finally be complete, as it will finally allow the new Lex Autolease to focus outwards again. Ominous news indeed for its rivals, as although Francis isn't looking for growth at all costs, a key goal from now on is maximising profit. The industry will be watching how 2011's most influential man in the business car market drives the company forward.