Personality of the year sponsored by Northridge Finance
Marc Matthew leads a double life. Together with business partner Peter Isted, he is responsible for driving the performance and strategy of Lifestyle Europe, two-time winner of the AM Retail Group of the Year (up to 10 sites).
As chairman of the Retail Automotive Alliance, he oversees a business with 22 retail members, pooling £2.4 billion turnover, negotiating and agreeing contracts with suppliers that, to date, have saved members £5 million annually.
It is his success in this split role that sees Matthew become AM’s personality of 2009.
Lifestyle Europe was launched from a management buyout in 2001 of parts of HMG Holdings. Now turning over around £105 million, the business operates nine dealer- ships in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, with Ford, Renault, Mazda, Subaru and Isuzu franchises.
Matthew oversees parts and corporate sales. In addition, he has the people focus, with the soft skills necessary for coaching and leadership. He says he recruits staff for attitude and trains for skill. With turnover below 15%, the company enjoys continuity and familiarity of staff with customers.
“We have the skills to train people, but they have to have the right attitude first,” explains Matthew.
At RAA, Matthew has taken the bulk purchasing agreements to a new level. He focuses on big ticket projects, including media purchasing, marketing, dealer management and HR systems, and recently signed an agreement with Manheim Auctions on remarketing.
Successful tenders have been implemented on a range of services, from tyres, paint and showroom furniture to oils, health insurance and fuel cards. The total trade value of the deals is worth £23 million turnover.
Matthew also has a third string to his bow. He is executive director of the Institute of the Motor Industry, helping to drive forward training standards, competencies and recognition, and helping to incorporate the sector skills development strategy. He is also chairman of the IMI’s audit and remuneration committee.