People news, August 2018 - UPDATED02 August 2018

Richard Butler at Optare

Optare announces the appointment of Richard Butler as chief executive, from 2nd July 2018. He joins as Graham Belgum moves to a new position as director of international business development, and will be working closely with the management team at Ashok Leyland, Optare’s parent company. Butler has 30 years of international business experience gained at global manufacturer JCB.

Michelin has appointed Andrew French, 38, as director of services and solutions for the UK, Ireland and Nordics, giving him direct responsibility for Michelin solutions – which manages the tyres on more than 80,000 buses, coaches and trucks in these markets. As well as heading a team looking after some of Michelin’s biggest European customers, French will be responsible for continuing the growth of new Michelin solutions technology into the marketplace. This includes the Effitrailer telematics system and a suite of new app-based digital tools to boost fleet efficiency, including MyInspection and MyRoadChallenge. French brings more than 20 years of experience within Michelin to the role, having joined as an apprentice in August 1996. He takes over from Paul Davey, who has held the role of Michelin solutions commercial director since the business was established in May 2013. Davey retired in June 2018 after 44 years at Michelin.

DAF Trucks dealer group Imperial Commercials has appointed Daniel Fitzjohn, 38, and Vincente Connolly, 43, as regional director roles in their respective Western and Birmingham regions. Both men will report to managing director Matt Lawrenson, 47, himself newly-appointed after enjoying 12 years of managerial progression with the multi-franchise Imperial Commercials dealer group. Also, Alan Ellison, 40, joined Imperial Commercials in 2017 following a long career with DAF Trucks. Ellison is also recently appointed to the position of Commercial Director – again, underlining the youthful vitality of the senior team. Based at Imperial Commercials’ Bristol location, Daniel Fitzjohn comes from an aftersales background having started his career as an apprentice truck technician and has held senior management roles for the last 11 years at Mercedes-Benz. Vincente Connolly boasts a wealth of experience with Mercedes-Benz having spent 25 years serving the German marque, the last 13 at Mercedes-Benz Head Office. His entire career has been associated with Mercedes-Benz, having joined the organisation as an apprentice technician and, subsequently, various roles within passenger car, Mercedes-Benz van sales and finally truck sales.

CV vehicle industry parts executive Glen Crompton has joined DAF Trucks as parts marketing manager, with responsibility for DAF genuine parts and for TRP – the company’s all-makes truck-and-trailer parts brand. He replaces long-serving Stewart Davies, who has retired from the company. With 24 years’ experience in the independent aftermarket, and 13 years specifically in the commercial vehicle sector, Crompton’s previous employers include Brown Brothers, Partco and Unipart-owned Truck & Trailer Components (TTC).

Irizar (UK)’s business development director Julie Hartley has been given additional responsibilities as head of coach sales, as demand for the Spanish manufacturer’s Integral product range continues to grow. She will be responsible for developing sales of new and used coaches across the UK, after record sales and turnover were achieved last year thanks in part to the launch of the fabulous new i6S Integral. Hartley has over 20 years’ experience in the coach and bus industry and joined Irizar (UK) four years ago.

Marshall Fleet Solutions (MFS) has announced that managing director George Ralph will step down from his role by the end of 2018. His successor will be Mark Howell, who will join MFS towards the end of 2018.Mark is currently sales director at Enterprise Flex-E-Rent.After the initial transition period it is intended that Ralph will continue to have an involvement in the business as an advisor to the MFS board.

Commercial vehicle motor factor business, Digraph, has announced the appointment of Sukhbir Kapoor as chief executive officer. As CEO of Digraph, Kapoor will strengthen the existing management team while overseeing its ambitious growth strategy. Having held several senior management positions at the company, he has has been instrumental in increasing the size of the Euro Car Parts network. Prior to moving to the UK, Sukhbir’s career started at Gabriel, ArvinMeritor and latterly Federal Mogul Corporation based in India, Singapore and the USA.

Mercedes-Benz Vans dealer for Surrey, Sussex and parts of Hampshire, Rossetts Commercials, is now led by dealer principal Richard Wheeler, who joins after spending 10 years at car group Lookers Mercedes-Benz, in Kent. One of his first tasks was to appoint a new site manager for the company’s Aldershot branch, a position which has now been filled by Nick Thomas. A seasoned commercial vehicle specialist who began his career as a technical apprentice in 1976, Nick has spent most of his career working with Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans.

Rygor owner-directors Tim Stacey, Graham Drake and Paul Reed are celebrating 10 years in charge of the Rygor Group, which encompasses the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle arm of the business, Rygor Commercials. Having started life in the 1960’s as a family haulage business in the Mendips, Rygor Group became an authorised Mercedes-Benz repairer in the 80’s and a full dealer shortly afterwards. Today, Rygor Group Ltd. employees more than 700 in 11 authorised Mercedes-Benz Vans and Mercedes-Benz Trucks sales and after sales branches across the UK. In recent years, Rygor has expanded into new locations, now with a flagship branch in Gloucester, opened in September 2016. The Dealer has also recently completed a significant investment at its Oxford branch, which has seen a complete refurbishment of the site. Rygor Managing Director, Tim Stacey, celebrated 25 years at the business earlier this year, joining his team for the company’s annual long service recognition lunch.

Jacqueline O'Donovan was presented with the 'Woman of the Decade in Enterprise and Leadership' award at the Women’s Economic Forum (WEF) Conference in Birmingham recently. As MD of O’Donovan Waste Disposal, Jacqueline is one of the construction and demolition waste sectors’ most passionate pioneers of employee training, industry best practice and road safety. She commented: “To be perceived as a leading woman in business is an absolute honour and I’m grateful for this recognition. What a lovely surprise to receive such a prestigious award”.

Dr. Thomas Sedran, general secretary and senior vice president, group strategy at Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, has been appointed CEO of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand effective 1 September 2018. In this function, he takes over from Dr. Eckhard Scholz, who is stepping down at his own request.

UPDATED 4 January 2019; removed an appointment at Selsia Vehicle Accident Centres at the employee's request.

Will Dalrymple

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