Board members had indicated privately for several months that the chief executive’s days were numbered. The sale of the RMIF’s training division, Remit, earlier this year, was seen as the tipping point. Although the sale raised £25.5m, it leaves the RMIF without its main revenue-raising division. It is now reliant on subscription income, which has been in decline for several years.
“It’s taken much longer to prise Matthew out than they would’ve liked,” says a source close to the board. “The failure of Carwise was the start of it, when members started to realize he wasn’t delivering what was expected.”
Members also became concerned that the supervisory board, made up of six people including Carrington, was empowered to drive through decisions for the entire organization. “There was no regional consultation over the Remit sale. It went out to an EGM but not everyone could attend with limited notice,” says the source.
“I think the board started to understand what Carrington has cost the organization. Membership has gone down from 11,500 to around 7,000 during his reign. The concern now is to get the costs under control. There may be more people to go yet.”
The RMIF once made much of Carrington’s political connections and lobbying power as a former Conservative MP and party whip. That lobbying role is now in the hands of its remaining directors, particularly Sue Robinson of the National Franchised Dealers Association and Ray Holloway of the Independent Garages Association.
Josephine Perry, a public affairs specialist appointed in July to lead the RMIF’s lobbying, has also left.
Finance director Kevin Waterman has taken on the role of interim managing director. “There will be a new CEO. It’s just a matter of finding someone of the right calibre and within budget,” says the source. Carrington, who was paid almost £150,000 last year, formally stepped down on October 31.
RMIF president Keith Sayfritz says Carrington’s successes include supporting Remit’s former MD Stephen Ramsey in developing the training business for the sale, and lobbying on behalf of members’ issues.
He admits the Carwise failure was “a great shame” but doesn’t blame Carrington.
The AM view
As the image of the NFDA improves under Sue Robinson, so its parent body RMIF attracts more criticism.
The key question is: what happens to all the Remit cash? We should find out this month after another RMIF review