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AM Financial Management Conference 2008

John Madejski, the man who built the Auto Trader brand into a £175 million business and who now owns Reading Football Club, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s AM Financial Management conference.

Sponsored by Grant Thornton Automotive Services and chaired by renowned business analyst/TV broadcaster Dr. James Bellini, the AM Financial Management Conference is the only event tailored to motor retail finance directors, dealership accountants and other senior managers with an interest in financial management.

The emphasis is on improving performance, with best practice guidelines and practical ideas for delegates to adapt to their own operations.

Subjects will include cashflow management, used car stocking, aftersales KPIs and VAT inspections.

Golden opportunities

Madejski will reveal what drives him to keep looking at new business opportunities and how, in most cases, he manages to turn them into gold.

He founded Hurst Publishing, which launched the first Auto Trader magazine in the UK, in the Thames Valley region in 1976. Just 20 years later having rolled out the concept across the country and abroad into South Africa and Western Europe he sold his dominant stake in the business to venture capitalists, BC Partners.

Adding value to the business at the time of sale he had sought out a key team of executives and business partners to seize the opportunities of changes in the marketplace. This included a broadening of the traditional published products to capture niche markets through Top Marques, Bike Trader and many more.

Most important of all, the initial investment was made in establishing the Auto Trader website, seeing even then the way this technology would affect traditional medium.

Reading FC

In 1990 Madejski became Chairman of Reading FC, at the time close to receivership and in need of a new ground, with a team floundering in Division 3 (League 2 today). In 2006 Reading FC joined the Premiership, playing in the Madejski Stadium, a 24,000 all seat facility, and declared a multi million pound profit to end of the last financial year.

Away from the UK following the sale of the AutoTrader business in 1998, Madejski saw the opportunity to replicate the model in his new home market of Malaysia. Today the publications and website of Malaysian Motor Trader spread across the Far East taking in Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Amongst many other investments and business ranging from hotels to property he has recently acquired the controlling stake in, a B2B website in the UK that offers an application which brings franchised dealers and lease companies together online to buy and sell unregistered and pre-registered cars and LCV stock.

With him will be David Owen-Smith, managing director of “We’re aiming to transform the fleet and corporate car market,” said Owen-Smith. “It’s an exciting, ‘no haggle’ concept that will help motor dealers to hit their all-important sales targets.”

Joining Madejski in the speaker line up will be motor industry trainer Jeff Smith, author of the best-selling KPI Book.

Smith will share practical ideas for improving service profits, explaining how the three major workshop KPIs work with each other.

“The difference between success and failure is being in possession of the right information and having the ability to take action,” said Smith.

“There is one KPI that builds profit within the service department like no other - yet few people truly understand it and even fewer calculate it accurately in their management reports. Fewer still know how to exploit it to grow their profits.”

Smith is known for his ability to convey complex information in jargon-busting English that everyone understands.

His second publication, How to make more profit with your service department, sold out within a week of publication and achieved worldwide acclaim in the trade.

The conference takes place on November 18 at Reading’s Madejski Stadium. For details, contact Kate Howard on 01733 468 146 or

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