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Leigh appointed boss as Europcar confirms NCR acquisition

Date: 12 March 2007

Outgoing BVRLA boss John Leigh

Europcar's new UK boss has refused to rule out job losses after it confirmed its £450m acquisition of Vanguard's European business, which comprises of National Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car and Guy Salmon.

Former Vanguard Rental UK senior vice president John Leigh has been appointed to head Europcar UK and Vanguard Rental UK, although the two businesses will continue with the same management structure and operate independently, at least for the foreseeable future, as was the case prior to the deal. The two companies now have a combined fleet of more than 53,000 vehicles.

Leigh promised that staff in rental outlets in all brands as well as all sales and marketing personnel will remain in place. "We will get back office synergies," he said. "Although it may be a case of redirecting staff to other areas."

Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar Leigh singled out fleet support, customer service support and accident repairs as key areas for "synergies".

Leigh added: "I don't know which will be the biggest areas of savings. We're creating groups to look at the business at the moment."

He said that the merging of the businesses will take between two and three years.

Europcar announced the agreement in November, but has now received clearance from UK, Spanish and German competition authorities.

"I am enormously excited to be leading the two businesses," said Leigh. "Both organisations have enormous synergies in terms of their heritage, their strong service ethic and the quality and commitment of their people. However, it is very much 'business as usual', with the brands continuing to operate and compete with one another in the marketplace."

The deal also sees Europcar enter a transatlantic alliance with Vanguard Car Rental Holdings, which can provide what the firm describes as a "global car renting solution", especially in North America.

National, Alamo and Europcar between them operate in 150 countries with 500,000 vehicles across 6000 locations.