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BusinessCar Power List 2012

Date: 02 January 2013

George Osborne, Chancellor, Government

The top 50 rundown of the most influential people in the corporate car arena has returned. For the seventh time, BusinessCar has assessed which personalities shape our industry with their actions, words and opinions. Paul Barker takes you through the 2012 BusinessCar Power List

This, the seventh annual BusinessCar Power List, rates and records the 50 people we believe are the biggest hitters in the industry, influencing the operation of company cars in a series of ways including financial, efficiency, safety and environmental considerations.

A place on the Power List is coveted by many in the industry, according to the feedback we receive every year, and is given to those we feel are doing the most to mould and direct the business car market.

Compared with recent years it's generally been a calmer and less tumultuous 12 months, and that's reflected by a more settled top 10, although we've handed back the number one berth to a former incumbent and there are three new names in the upper echelons. Further down, six other people make their Power List debuts as the past 12 months of developments influence our thinking. As always, this is the opinion of BusinessCar's expert team, and agree or disagree, we welcome your feedback to

50 Antonio Tajani, European Commission, vice president, (new entry)

Tajani heads up the changes relevant to the automotive sector at EU level, which include introducing new tyre-labelling rules, EU6 exhaust emissions legislation and manufacturers' long-term CO2 targets across cars and vans.

49 Mike Betts, Motability, chief executive, ?1

The disability motoring organisation is the biggest single fleet in the UK and therefore influences residual values, although it has changed its terms, especially on more expensive vehicles, this year.

48 David Hosking, Tusker, chief executive, (new entry)

A small leasing firm by the standards of others on this list, Tusker is however carving itself an impressive niche as a salary-sacrifice leader. Volumes are small and slow-burn, but interest in the schemes is growing, and the company has set itself up as an expert in its field.

47 Darren Payne, Renault, sales director, ?8

Payne was promoted to sales director while retaining fleet responsibility late last year, the same time as the French firm took the drastic action of culling its model line-up to concentrate on core vehicles, as well as the fledgling electric vehicles it is forging a leading position in, and the forthcoming Budget Dacia brand launching early next year.

46 Kaye Ceille, Avis Budget UK, managing director, (new entry)

Ceille took over as boss of Avis Budget UK?in March, moving from her previous role as senior vice president of international sales and marketing. The firm also recently launched into the LCV arena to supplement its car business.

45 Paul Everitt, SMMT, chief executive (no change)

The spokesperson for the UK industry, Everitt lobbies both UK and European parliaments on all areas of automotive and speaks with knowledge and confidence on everything from vehicle emissions to digital radio implementation.

44 Jon Olsen, BCA, chief executive, (new entry)

Olsen heads up the UK's dominant remarketing firm at a time where there are concerns in the marketplace about used values, especially regarding relative demand for petrol and diesel models in the second-hand arena.

43 Nick Andrews, Mercedes-Benz, head of fleet sales, (new entry)

Andrews joined Mercedes less than a year ago from Seat - having previously worked for Audi - as Benz's first genuine fleet boss, and is tasked with turning the company into the biggest premium brand in the business car market. He has some work to do to catch BMW and Audi, but the stylish new A-class, launching by the end of the year, is a good start as he chases down the German rivals.

42 Simon Tse, DVLA, chief executive, ?4

The DVLA is to undergo a hefty reshaping in the next 12 months with plans to close regional offices having a potential impact on operations such as tax disc administration. There is also continual talk of potential changes to driver licence and vehicle paperwork.

41 Thomas Broberg, Volvo, senior technical advisor safety, ?3

The Swedish brand leads the industry in the field of safety, with the new V40's pedestrian airbag another world first for a mainstream model. Standard on all V40 models, it detects an impact with a pedestrian and deploys an airbag that protects them from the solid bits of the car around the top of the bonnet. The system recently won a BusinessCar Techie award in the safety category.

40 Tim Buchan, Zenith, chief executive, ?2

Continuing its rapid development, Zenith has introduced its BusinessCar Techie-winning Pulse system that offers industry-leading levels of comparison to illustrate a fleet's performance against benchmarked rivals.

39 Mike Williams, HM Treasury, director, business and international tax, ?4

As the boss of the Treasury's business tax division, Williams had a hand in the changes announced in the March Budget that saw the business car market hit with significant increases.

38 Jane Urqhart, Nottingham City Council, portfolio holder for transport and planning, ?11

The Workplace Parking Levy is now in full operation in Nottingham, and other councils, including Bristol, are watching closely to see how it works before taking similar action.

37 Dave Bowen, BT Fleet, managing director, ?4

Bowen heads up the company that's the UK's biggest supplier of vehicles to utility companies, as well as the significant car and commercial vehicle fleet born out of BT's telecom background.

36 Koei Saga, Toyota Motor Corporation, senior managing officer, ?4

Saga has been a driving force behind Toyota's continued leadership of the hybrid arena, which has seen the addition of the petrol-electric Yaris and Prius+ models, as well as the plug-in hybrid Prius.

35 Peter Lambert, Kwik-Fit Fleet, managing director, ?14

Following the March 2011 takeover by Itochu Corporation, Kwik-Fit Fleet is revamping its centres and targeting fleet service and repair work normally carried out at main dealers as a prime area for expansion.

34 James Douglas, Nissan, corporate sales director, ?7

It was another year of growth in 2011 for the Japanese brand, with the Qashqai, which dropped below 120g/km in 2011, now firmly ensconced in the top 10 fleet models, partially off the back of huge Motability popularity.

33 Michiel van Ratigen, Euro NCAP, secretary general, ?4

The NCAP safety test has been tightened up in recent times to make manufacturers work harder to achieve top scores and therefore make cars safer than ever for occupants. Pedestrian protection has also been vastly improved on modern cars as a result of the criteria's importance in the tests, while van Ratigen has announced that from 2014, autonomous braking systems, which help prevent low-speed accidents, will be introduced as part of the tests with the intention of increasing their implementation.

32 Don Moore, Enterprise, vice president of sales, UK and Ireland, ?4

The firm picked up the reader-voted BusinessCar rental award at the beginning of this year, putting the success down to its flexibility for business fleets.

31 Bob Contreras, Northgate, chief executive, ?1

The leader in the LCV rental market increased its sales force by 25% earlier this year after a re-structure of its team, and has also poured a total of £3.2m into its sites in Glasgow, Grantham, Limerick, Snodland, Milton Keynes and Cannock.

30 Chris Jolly, IDS Topcalc, forecasting editor, ?1

The whole-life cost specialist launched its new 4Cast programme for calculating car and commercial vehicle residual values earlier this year.

29 Simon Oliphant, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, chief executive ?5

A recent restructure sees Hitachi operate with three divisional MDs of the car, CV and driving instructor businesses, all reporting into the long-serving Oliphant, who has now been with the firm for 12 years. The move is designed to prompt the growth Hitachi is planning as it seeks to expand after several years of steady consolidation, as well as giving Oliphant the opportunity to look at any possible acquisitions.

28 Su McLean-Tooke, HMRC, policy adviser (no change)

McLean-Tooke is a main point of contact for the industry, with ACFO meeting her to discuss Revenue & Customs' plans and the effect they will have upon the industry.

27 David Bird, Leasedrive, chief executive, ?1

The UK's largest independent leasing firm has had a quieter year than 2011, which saw it partner with a new funding provider, leading to it doubling its volume overnight by absorbing the Masterlease portfolio.

26 Hugh Wallace, Arnold Clark Finance, managing director, ?6

Last year was one of quiet growth for the Scottish firm, which has been headed by Wallace for nearly 30 years.

25 Phil Robson, Peugeot, director of fleet and used vehicle sales, ?8

It's been a busy year for Peugeot's fleet boss, with the launch of breakthrough new diesel-electric hybrid technology on the 3008, 508 RXH and 508 saloon models offering new emission lows for the firm's larger cars. Robson is also working on the launch of the new 208, another car offering very competitive emissions, as well as heading the French firm's fleet LCV sales, with facelifted Partner and Expert models coming imminently, having been revealed at April's CV Show in Birmingham.

24 Roddy Graham, ICFM, chairman (no change)

Vocal BusinessCar blogger Graham continues to lead the industry's training body ICFM, which rebranded late last year, in addition to his role as commercial director at Leasedrive.

23 Boris Johnson, London, mayor, ?1

Johnson's influence may increase imminently if the rumoured plans to lower the CO2 emissions boundary for London congestion charge exemption from 100g/km to 80g/km come to fruition, especially if there's the same short period between confirmation and implementation as with previous changes.

22 Paul Sansom, Audi, head of sales, (new entry)

Sansom has recently been appointed head of sales, although a dedicated fleet boss to work beneath him is still yet to be recruited following Iain Carmichael's departure from Audi earlier this year.

21 John Jenkins, GE Capital UK, managing director, ?1

Managing director Jenkins heads up GE's UK operation, which includes the Fleet Services division.

20 Bob Middleton, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, managing director, ?1

Middleton continues to lead the financial operation for the premium German brand.

19 Graham Wheeler, VW Financial Services, managing director, ?6

Along with joint MD Lisa Stacey, Wheeler is boss of the Volkswagen Group leasing operation.

18 Ken McCall, Europcar, managing director (no change)

The UK's biggest car rental firm with 45,000 cars and vans has been dipping a toe into the water of low-emission vehicles over the past 12 months, adding the Toyota Yaris Hybrid and Nissan Leaf, and also launching a new hourly rental scheme earlier this year.

17 Steve Chater, BMW, head of corporate sales, ?12

Another year of growth for both BMW and Mini, while Chater has spent part of the summer ensuring his firm gets maximum exposure from its high-profile Olympic sponsorship. He also joined the ICFM Council late last year, adding to his fleet influence and input.

16 Vince Kinner, VW head of fleet services, ?5

VW continues to perform well in the true fleet channels in particular under Kinner, who has been with the firm for more than 35 years. His next job will be to manage the launch of the new seventh-generation Golf before the end of the year.

15 David Cameron, Government, Prime Minister, ?5

The UK automotive industry is too small a fish for Cameron to directly influence to any great extent at present, although his Government's austerity path led to his chancellor, George Osborne, raiding the business car market to help boost Treasury income.

14 John Lewis, BVRLA, chief executive, ?2

Lewis fights the cause of the rental and leasing sector to great effect, and is currently pushing for a DVLA move to end the need for a tax disc to be displayed, as well as lobbying for changes to low-emission vehicle taxation and several other industry issues. The BVRLA has also been working on establishing a clear system for vehicle safety recalls, which it is in the process of rolling out.

13 Keith Allen, ALD Automotive, managing director, ?2

It was a rather big year for ALD, taking responsibility for the leasing and contract hire vehicles that were previously run by Lombard Vehicle Management prior to its closure, while also adding to its white label business by operating the contract hire scheme for MG.

12 Bart Beckers, Arval, chief executive, ?6

Arval sold its market-leading Allstar fuel card business to Fleetcor for £194m at the very end of last year, suggesting that ownership hindered the leasing and fleet management business's growth prospects and that Arval wasn't able to develop the fuel card outside of the UK, a market in which it is dominant.

11 Adrian Rushmore, Glass's, managing editor, (new entry)

Rushmore heads up the team that helps shape the used values of the industry's vehicles, and replaces now-departed Jeff Patterson in this year's Power List.

10 Denis Keenan, Kee Resources, managing director, (new entry)

Keenan heads the data expert firm that is growing the behind-the-scenes work it does with numerous manufacturers and leasing companies, as well as the expanding influence of its Kwik Carcost system used by BusinessCar for our whole-life cost analysis.

9 Patrick McLoughlin, Government, transport secretary, (new entry)

Appointed transport secretary earlier this month, McLoughlin passed Justine Greening just 10 months after she took over at the Department for Transport. Previously the Conservative's chief whip, he now presides over the department in charge of EV grants and moves to cut automotive red tape.

8 Martin Ward, Cap, manufacturer relations manager, ?1

Ward's influence in ensuring new models launched into the UK market across all manufacturers have the best specification for both appeal and residual values is still unparalleled. He's given very early access to new models, and manufacturers see his input as key.

7 Kevin Griffin, Ford, fleet director (no change)

Griffin has become one of the more vocal members of the business car community advocating a return to petrol power for some fleets and drivers, coming off the back of Ford's clever Ecoboost technology. Next year will be a busy one with the new Mondeo due by the end of 2013, complete with petrol 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine, along with a facelifted Fiesta, new Kuga and the new Ecosport small SUV.

6 James Taylor, Vauxhall, fleet sales director, ?2

The brand returned to the top of the fleet registration chart under Taylor, who has also addressed a long-standing problem of the firm's P11D appearing higher than rivals with the introduction of the great-value Tech Line trim. Next up for Taylor is launching a raft of new models to the fleet market, with the Adam city car, Mokka small SUV and Cascada convertible all due in the next 12 months, as well as the imminent launch of the facelifted Astra.

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

Schooling now presides over a top-three leasing company, having bossed Alphabet's acquisition of ING Car Lease to create a 100,000-vehicle book in the UK. Next up is introducing and developing the innovative and BusinessCar Techie-winning Alphacity car pool scheme.

4 Julie Jenner, ACFO, chairman (no change)

Jenner has enjoyed a successful 12 months, with much of ACFO's lobbying of the Treasury and HMRC proving fruitful. Greater transparency for benefit-in-kind rates was something she had been pitching for, which arrived in the latest Budget, while she also oversaw a second successful ACFO Awards evening, with this year's event in November moving venue to?Stratford, rather than Birmingham's Metropole at the NEC.

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

Part of the world's largest leasing and fleet management company and still clearly the UK's second-largest leasing firm despite the consolidation going on around it, Leaseplan announced a £582m refinancing of the UK arm in April, raising the money to invest in organic growth and new vehicle leases. The company is also vowing to overhaul the way leasing companies deal with LCV maintenance to cut downtime.

2 Rick Francis, Lex Autolease, contract hire director, ?1

The long-term project to bring together the UK's two largest car lease companies - Lex Vehicle Leasing and Lloyds TSB Autolease - is now completed so Francis and his team are now moving onto establishing the new firm and ensuring it retains the business it wants to keep while letting other contracts slide away. As a result of the merger, the new company has significantly more vehicles than the next two firms combined.

1 George Osborne, Government, chancellor, ?1

Osborne's 2012 Budget revealed changes that will add £1.5bn to the tax burden for those companies and employees running company cars. As the Government battles to deal with the deficit, the business car market was well and truly in the chancellor's sights, with a ramp-up of the BIK bands predicted to bring in an additional £845m from company car drivers, while changing the capital allowance regime is budgeted to bring in an extra £575m. A further £35m will follow from increased taxes on free private fuel provided to employees, while postponed petrol duty rises are also on the horizon.