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AM Hall of Fame: Paul Williams

The significance of the AM Hall of Fame goes beyond a mere award – it is not simply about recognising a single achievement or a period of success. 

It is, more significantly, a recognition of a lifetime of work in our industry. 

The new inductee is no exception. Paul Williams became chief accountant of Bristol Street Group’s finance company in 1970. 

Within five years, he had moved into the holding company’s finance area to found its business management department, helping to create its first accountancy manual and gaining valuable experience in the workings of motor dealerships. 

He also took on the role of group parts director before becoming managing director of Bristol Street Cheltenham in 1980. 

He went on to run Bristol Street Motors in Birmingham, then the largest Ford dealer in the country. 

Mid-recession, he managed to turn the business around, directing a major restructuring process. 

He had similar roles in two other sites, eventually becoming divisional managing director, before he and two colleagues succeeded in the management buy-out of some 40 motor trade businesses from the Britax Holding Company in 1997. 

Eight years later, colleague John Tustain retired from the business, leaving our inductee as CEO, working alongside finance director Patrick Smiley, until Bristol Street Group’s acquisition for £40 million by Vertu Motors in 2007. 

He is now non-executive chairman of Vertu. 

Williams’ appointment as chairman of the National Franchised Dealer Association and the Retail Motor Industry Federation rightfully acknowledges the experience he has gained and the respect he has earned in more than 30 years in motor retailing.
He continues to champion the industry’s case, most recently in front of the media during the campaign and implementation of the Government scrappage scheme. 

Williams is a strong personality, known for his direct approach to business issues – as anyone who has been on the other side of a negotiating table from him will testify. 

However, this is always tempered with a sense of humour – borne, his friends and colleagues joke, from being a lifelong Wolves supporter.

His ability to multi-task has been noted on numerous golf courses, where he can often be seen playing a shot while at the same time conducting a business deal on his mobile phone.

AM Hall of Fame - Past Inductees

AM100 (2009) AM100 - Top 100 dealers (2009)

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