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Jennings has new boss after MBO

Nas Khan, who joined north-east dealer group Jennings as a sales executive in 1985, is the new group managing director following a second management buy-out in 13 years.

Alan Bentley, the previous chairman and managing director, had been the major shareholder since 1992 when he, Khan and other directors led an MBO from the Jennings family.

Bentley decided to retire from motor retailing and sold his shares for an undisclosed sum. The original business started with six employees in 1911 and now has more than 700.

Khan, sales director since the first MBO, says: "Jennings began as a family firm and we maintain that ethos. Two years ago, we added other marques to Ford for the first time since starting new car sales in 1917.

"The business will continue to evolve and grow, although we now want three or four years of consolidation because the last decade has been one of the most dramatic in our history. We have opened new dealerships across the region and brought in additional marques."

The group’s directors have spent a total of more than 72 years working for Jennings. Nicky Dalkin, the aftersales director, joined as a parts apprentice in the early Seventies and Graeme Armstrong, who has been there since 1985, is finance director and company secretary. He also has board responsibility for HR and IT.

Jennings is the largest independent Ford dealer group in the north-east and last year took four of the manufacturer’s 18 Chairman’s Awards.

In 2003, Jennings opened Mazda dealerships in Middlesbrough and Washington. Seat, Subaru and Isuzu were added to Ford on a seven-acre, multi-million pound site in Middlesbrough.

Khan says Ford will have “a massive presence” at a new site in Sunderland due to open next summer, with other brands likely to be added.

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