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Priory hands McVinnie role of future growth

North Eastern Co-op's Priory Motor Group has appointed Tom McVinnie as group general manager, responsible for 27 dealerships following the acquisition of the Herbert Robinson outlets around Cambridge.

Mr McVinnie, general manager of the Priory outlets before the expansion, has been given the task of further strengthening the £200m turnover business. The group represents 15 marques and also controls nine accident repair centres and eight filling stations.

Neil Arnold, North Eastern Co-op chief executive, said a management restructure was phase one following a study of the enlarged group by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

Full integration of Herbert Robinson dealerships – to be rebranded under the Priory name in 2001 – was the first step, he said. The group expects new and used car sales to top 12,000 this year.

Mr Arnold said the Co-operative network operated almost 100 dealerships nationally with combined sales of more than £850m.

In other Priory Group appointments, former Herbert Robinson managing director Brian Pettengell becomes regional manager south. His territory includes the 10 Herbert Robinson outlets in the Cambridge area and two Priory businesses in Kent.

Bill Oliver, previously Priory's regional manager for Scotland and the North-east, is regional general manager north. He is responsible for 15 dealerships based in Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh and the North-east.

Priory Motor Group is recruiting a group procurement manager to ensure all products and services are bought on the most cost-effective terms, using the business's buying power. The group is also seeking a group used car buyer, group finance and insurance manager and group bodyshop operations manager.

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