|Peter Jones, centre, with Sophie Raworth and AM editor Jeremy Bennett|
His parents were proud when their son began working for Barclays bank in Manchester. But when Peter Jones decided to take an alternative route just a year later, their hopes of a long-term, secure respectable career in finance were dashed.
Jones joined Rover in 1978 and progressed through the ranks, becoming commercial director under BMW’s ownership. This year’s Hall of Fame inductee left the company in 1997, well before Rover’s final demise, although a colleague jokingly reminded him at his leaving event that each time he had been promoted, Rover’s market share had fallen.
|AM Hall of Fame inductee|
He left Rover to join CD Bramall as chief executive. His successful six-year tenure was brought to an end when it was taken over by Pendragon in 2004. This presented an opportunity for Jones and Tony Bramall to establish a number of Volkswagen and Audi businesses in eastern England.
In 2008, he joined the board of Lookers, initially as operations director, before taking over from Ken Surgenor the following year as chief executive.
In the past five years, Lookers has performed exceptionally well. Combined with a consistent rise in all the key measures, Lookers’ profit before tax, return on sale and return on capital employed exceeds the average of the top 10 groups in the AM100.
Jones retired at the end of 2013, with the company enjoying record results.
As Lookers chairman Phil White acknowledged, Jones has led the company “during a period where profitability and market capitalisation have increased significantly with consecutive record results from 2009 to the present day”.
But another Lookers’ senior manager emphasised that Jones is far from being just a suit chasing the numbers. His colleagues stress an unassuming, humble personality, mixed in equal measure with a sharp intellect and a considerable work ethic felt throughout Lookers.
Another director said: “He is the best all-round leader I’ve ever seen. Others I’ve worked with have very developed strengths in certain areas, but Peter is excellent in every area, has bags of humility and is living proof that you can get consistent record-breaking results by being a popular, nice guy that everyone would walk over hot coals for. A true inspiration and I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.”