Neil Cunningham of Hertz answers Barker's Dozen
22 November 2012
BusinessCar's Paul Barker puts 13 testing questions to another victim
1. What was your first job? After uni I took on a trainee management role in a shipping and airfreight company at Humberside Airport. On my first day I was asked to remove a lead-lined but leaking coffin from our bonded warehouse! The same day I was asked to pick up a Ford Transit from Peterborough, which at the time I thought was enormous having never driven anything bigger than a Triumph Herald.
2. What was your first company car? A blue Ford Escort estate; not very cool but very exciting nevertheless.
3. What did you listen to on your last car journey? Radio 4 - I always use car journeys to keep up-to-date with current affairs. I flick over to Absolute Radio if I get annoyed by any of the commentators, which is about once every 15 minutes.
4. What one thing do you wish you could do better? Play golf.
5. What's your biggest achievement? Being asked by the industry to be BVRLA chairman last year. The BVRLA does some fantastic work for the industry.
6. Who are your role models? I've worked for several colourful entrepreneurs over the years. They've taught me that anything is possible when you have a good team and you've got ambition. I remain close to a number of doyens of the industry and they provide sensible support when needed.
7. What's the stupidest thing you've done? There's probably too many to mention but I do recall buying some prestige cars over a lunch once for too little discount - and living to regret it nine months later! The key learning is never to do fleet deals over lunch - they're bound to cause indigestion.
8. What was the most hotly debated topic at your last meeting? The competition.
9. What's in your garage? No Bentley collections but my beloved Nissan Leaf sits on the drive plugged in to my home charging station courtesy of Chargemaster.
10. What's the worst thing about your job? There's very little wrong with my job. I love the engagement with the people around me.
11. What one law would you make or change? Abolish student fees at universities. A free senior education for all is a primary way to stay ahead of the competition from other countries.
12. What keeps you awake at night? Very little - I have a long list next to my bedside table that lets me offload before I sleep!
13. Who is your ideal celebrity date? Sophia Loren.