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Cover story: Back to basics as Marshall Group stays local

Three years ago Marshall Motor Group chief executive Roger Knight told AM about his plans to expand the regional group further afield. “We will go anywhere in the UK with the right franchise – that’s a new position for us,” he said. That move didn’t happen. 

Although the company expanded, it stayed firmly rooted in the east of England. With Knight now retired, Robert Marshall, great grandson of Marshall founder David and son of current chairman Michael, has no plans to fulfil Knight’s aspirations. 

“When I came into the business two years ago we had undergone a period of acquisition and we needed to implement a better regional structure,” Marshall says.

“We decided on the mantra ‘get better, not bigger’, which is all about margins and process, not expanding.”

Marshall Motor Group

His focus is on a back to basics strategy with the company recognising and celebrating its strengths as an owner-driver business that aims to satisfy customers in its five core market areas – Cambridge, Peterborough, Suffolk, Herts/Beds (through the Lisles acquisition last year) and east Midlands (via TMS). Building the brand is a key element.Marshall took up the chief executive’s role following Knight’s departure in December, but it is only a temporary move. He has already recruited a replacement who will join the business this year. Marshall will stay as executive chairman.

He won’t reveal details of his successor yet, other than to say the person has been chosen for their ambition.

“I want someone who will kick us into the next stage of motor history. I expect the appointment will raise some eyebrows.”

  • Read this story in full in the 17 OCtober 2008  issue of AM. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.

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