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

26. Ian Tilbrook, ING Car Lease, MD

Tilbrook now manages a top-10 leasing firm after 3000-unit growth to 46,000 cars was enough to leapfrog BT Fleet and Hitachi Capital.

25. Keith Allen, ALD, MD

Steady fleet size saw Allen’s ALD slip a place to ninth in the ’08 leasing chart.

24. Steve Durrant, Daimler Fleet Management, MD

In former DCFM guise before the split from Chrysler, the lease firm jumped three spots to eighth in the leasing list, hitting 50,000 units. Dust still settling for Durrant since the split.

23. Paul Everitt, SMMT, chief executive

Appointed to the post of carmarkers’ mouthpiece this year after the retirement of Christopher Macgowan.

22. Roddy Graham, ICFM, chairman

Graham is never short of an opinion and is not only the head of the fleet manager’s training body, he also has political links, is operations director of independent fleet management and leasing firm LeaseDrive Velo, and is a BusinessCar blogger.

21. Mike Betts, Motability Operations, chief executive

Head of what’s technically the largest leasing firm in the UK, though it serves only those receiving the Government’s mobility allowance. Betts’s organisation has a RV influence, though, especially in sectors popular with his customers, such as Mini-MPVs.

20. Geoffrey Podger, HSE, chief executive

Despite the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act earlier this year, the test case the doom-mongers predicted will lead to bosses going to jail, and that Podger’s organisation will investigate, is yet to appear.

19. Rich Green, GE Capital, MD

Green drops a place in this year’s list because the size of the leasing and fleet management company he leads is down 13,000 units to 55,000 in 2008.

18. Vince Kinner, Volkswagen, fleet sales director

Some brands seem to change their fleet teams every five minutes, but VW shows you don’t need to do that to succeed. Long-standing Kinner still presides over one of the most desirable fleet brands for both the user-chooser and the fleet manager.

17. Ruth Kelly, Government, transport minister

Although she’s recently announced her departure from Labour’s cabinet, Kelly’s unpopular pay-as-you drive plans have refused to die. Her replacement will assume this position in next year’s Power List. However, the real power over the business car sector still lies with the Treasury.

16. Jean-Marc Torre, Arval, chief executive officer

Arval’s fuel card influence remains intact after resolution of the BP spat, The leasing arm remains in the top six.

15. Peter Tatlock, Masterlease, MD

Heads up a fleet of 79,000 vehicles for the fifth-largest leasing firm.

14. Mark Jowsey, Emmox Carcost, general manager

Jowsey is the residual value expert behind the Emmox Carcost system, which offers the incredibly detailed whole-life costs data trusted by BusinessCar for out test drive data.

13. Liz O’Donnell, HMRC, policy advisor

The fleet manager’s point of contact at HM Revenue and Customs. O’Donnell makes sure she knows what’s going on in fleet by attending ACFO meetings and business car conferences.

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

Boss of the industry’s fourth biggest leasing company.

11. John Lewis, BVRLA, director general

Lewis is continuing pushing for greater clarity from Government officials on tax.

10. Jeff Paterson, Glass’s Guide, senior car editor

Quieter than his friend and rival Ward (see No.9), but his opinions count to those who live and die by their cars’ RVs.

9. Martin Ward, CAP, manufacturer relations manager

Known by just about everyone who works in a car maker’s fleet department. They may not agree with Ward all the time, but they listen to him because he has a wealth of experience and always says what he means.

8. Alistair Darling, Government, Chancellor

We’ve now seen both a pre-Budget and a Budget from Darling and neither of them were favourable for the motorist or the fleet manager – but this list is about power, not how it’s used. The Chancellor preached the Government’s green agenda and laid out that you have to buy green if you want to minimise any taxation. In particular, the impact of the new 160g/km capital allowance cut-off announced in this year’s budget is yet to be felt. If Gordon Brown carries out the expected cabinet reshuffle this could be Darling’s last appearance in this list.

7. Kevin Griffin, Ford, fleet operations director

Sales may be down for the first half of the year (-8.7%) for Ford’s fleet operations, but the Blue Oval brand still commands top spot in the model ranking with the facelifted Focus. Griffin’s sales fortunes look set to improve in 2009 with the all-new Fiesta just around the corner.

6. Maurice Howkins, GM UK, fleet sales director

While Howkins originally achieved his placing ahead of rival Kevin Griffin (see above) because he controlled more brands across the GM portfolio, and therefore more fleet sales, Howkin’s main brand Vauxhall has overtaken Ford in a straight fight with sales up 1.1% in the first half of 2008. Not only does he control the corporate sales of the industry’s leading brand, but he also runs the business sales of prestige brand Saab, value brand Chevrolet and American duo Cadillac and Hummer.

5. Julie Jenner, ACFO, chairman

Jenner’s actions in the past year see her leap from outside the top 10 to fifth place in the BusinessCar Power List. The GE Key Solutions manager has the ear of many of the major players in this list. Her past two years as chairman has seen ACFO rise in status, particularly within the parts of Whitehall that matter to fleets – HMRC and HM Treasury. Jenner has a gift for expressing, always clearly, and strongly when necessary, the needs and requirements of the fleet management industry.

4. David Brennan, Leaseplan, MD

Brennan’s ranking is bolstered by the fact that Leaseplan is more than just a large leasing firm with a fleet of 120,000 vehicles. The main Leaseplan operation looks after major corporate business, while it has three sister brands that specialise in other areas of the business. The Network branch serves small businesses through a network of approved brokers. Fleetline is dedicated to medium-sized businesses, while Automotive Leasing is the only recognised brand in public sector leasing. All this means Brennan’s influence is far reaching.

3. Nigel Stead, Lloyds TSB Autolease & BVRLA, MD & chairman

Last 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. However, for the past year Stead has kept a quieter than normal profile. That could all change now, though, depending on how parent firm Lloyds TSB evolves its take-over of Lex owner HBOS. Lex may be the larger leasing firm, but Lloyds is the one buying HBOS, so this time next year Stead could be ahead of Walden again. Or one or both could be missing from the Power List.

2. Jon Walden, Lex, MD

Now running a fleet of well over quarter of a million vehicles, Walden returns to the number two spot for his intelligent approach to business growth. He was accurate in predicting a market down-turn while others were still writing optimistic lease rates, which will put Lex in a good position to weather the economic storm. The fall-out from parent firm HBOS’s takeover by Lloyds TSB will also be felt over the next couple of years, with the inevitable move closer to Lloyds TSB Autolease.

1. Gordon Brown, Government, PM

Our reigning BusinessCar Power List leader stays on top for a third year, but will it continue? To put it mildly, it’s been a rocky year for the Prime Minister. He’s never been out of the firing line since he took over from Tony Blair a little over a year ago. If the political pundits are to be believed he’s still micro-managing the economy and setting a green agenda, which the automotive industry is following. Interestingly, for a non-driver and supposed car hater, he also made the effort to visit the London motor show in July and reveal plans for Britain to lead the field in electric vehicles. With a Cabinet reshuffle on the cards in the next few weeks we already know the PM will be appointing a new transport minister. This reshuffle may just put rest to the continued rumours of an internal leadership battle. But then again, maybe not.