BusinessCar Power List 2015
08 October 2015
The annual BusinessCar Power List hits double figures, with this year marking the 10th time we have brought you our verdict on the 50 most important figures influencing business car decision making and operation in the UK. Paul Barker reports on those at the top of the corporate leadership and influence scale
Had we published the Power List a few weeks ago it would have looked a little different to the one we've ended up with.
That's because back then we didn't have the Volkswagen emissions scandal, which popped up late in proceedings to potentially have a much wider impact on the industry than simply affecting the financial status of one car manufacturer, to take into consideration.
The scandal has subsequently disrupted what had been a pretty stable top end of the table, on the presumption that the actions of Volkswagen engineers cheating American emissions tests will have some far-reaching consequences.
We have 10 new entries in the top 50 for our 10th edition of the Power List, and only one person has managed the considerable achievement of appearing in every line-up, dating back to the first one in September 2006.
I won't spoil the surprise, but he'll be embarrassed to see we've mentioned it in his countdown profile. That first list was topped by Gordon Brown, with Lex Vehicle Leasing boss Jon Walden and Autolease managing director Nigel Stead behind him, years before the merger between the two firms created the UK's leasing giant. Others of note in that first Power List were George Bush at position 21, Mervyn King at 41 and Ken Livingstone at 44.
This rundown is our verdict on who has the greatest influence in the vibrant and challenging fleet sector, and is based on our expertise and experience, backed up by some hard numbers. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you agree, or if you don't.
50 - Steve Catlin (New entry)
Volkswagen - Group fleet boss
Catlin took over in July from legendary fleet figure Vince Kinner following the latter's retirement, and his role is designed to maximise fleet efficiencies across the five group brands: Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW Commercial Vehicles. However, the former Vauxhall man may also have some work to do on restoring the brands' reputations in the wake of the emissions scandal.
49 - Gina McCarthy (new entry)
US Environmental Protection Agency - Administrator
Obama-appointed McCarthy heads-up the agency that first brought the Volkswagen emissions deception to light, so her influence has the ability to be long felt in the automotive industry, let alone the fleet market. The EPA made public its discovery that the car manufacturer was deliberately cheating US emissions tests, and started the whole chain of events that is still a long way from reaching a conclusion.
48 - Jane Urquhart (Down one)
Nottingham City Council - Portfolio holder for transport and planning
Urquhart is the figurehead for Nottingham's controversial Workplace Parking Levy, which currently costs £375 per space per year for local businesses with more than 10 employee parking spots.
47 - Keith Allen (Down two)
ARI Fleet - Managing director
A ninth appearance on the BusinessCar Power List for former ALD Automotive boss Allen, who heads up the UK fleet management operation of worldwide giant ARI.
46 - David Martell (New entry)
Chargemaster - Managing director
Chargemaster has been busy in recent times. In July, the electric vehicle recharging network confirmed it would be adding another 2000 charge points to the 4000 it operates, including replacing some that don't work, while around 600 will be placed in the likes of hotels, supermarkets and health clubs. The firm also acquired installer GB Electrical in July, and in the same month took on managing the Plugged-In Midlands charging network.
45 - Nina Bell (New entry)
Avis-Budget Group - Managing director, northern region
Bell replaced Mark Servididio as UK boss, a role that also gives her responsibility for Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Servididio moved to a European position, and Bell steps up to the top UK job after 12 years of experience with the company.
44 - Lance Bradley (Up two)
Mitsubishi - Managing director
Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi enjoyed a 227.8% increase in sales last year thanks to the popularity of its Outlander plug-in hybrid, which is the biggest-selling plug-in vehicle in the UK. That gives Bradley and his company a level of authority in the UK automotive sector that it hasn't experienced before.
43 - Michiel van Ratingen (Down two)
Euro NCAP - Secretary general
Continued tightening of the criteria for the fabled five-star Euro NCAP crash test results has led to features such as autonomous emergency braking becoming more commonplace.
42 - Violeta Bulc (New entry)
European Commission - Commissioner for transport
The Volkswagen emissions scandal has set the EC's agenda very much in the direction of ensuring tougher and more real-world emissions testing comes through in 2017, and Slovenian Bulc's responsibilities include reducing greenhouse gases in the transport sector.
41 - Dave Bowen (Up one)
BT Fleet - Managing director
Growth of around 1500 vehicles took BT Fleet's total over 30,000 last year, and the firm continues to be a leader in the van leasing market.
40 - Neil Broad (No change)
Toyota/Lexus - General manager, fleet services
Premium brand Lexus grew by a third and Toyota was up by more than 20% last year, the latter just outside the list of the top 10 fleet brands and looking for growth with the revised core Auris and Avensis models. Toyota is also about to set off down the hydrogen path with the Mirai fuel-cell model.