Mark Raban, chief executive of AM100 dealer group Lookers, has won the 2022 AM Award for Business Leader of the Year.
In awarding this year’s Business Leader of the Year accolade the AM Awards judges wanted to recognise a man who has guided an AM100 PLC through its toughest period of trading to deliver impressive profitability.
Lookers chief executive Mark Raban claimed in an interview with AM earlier this year that he liked to “stick with my knitting” by nature, having spent much of his career in finance roles, including postings at ASOS and Marshall Motor Group.
After switching to the CEO hot seat at Lookers in early 2020 Raban took on a business staring down the barrel of a “perfect storm” of legacy issues.
Within months an ongoing fraud investigation would identify a £19m black hole in the group’s accounts, a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigation scrutinise its compliance procedures and the business de-listed from the London Stock Exchange due to the late submission of its accounts in 2019.
Raban led through this period – and the turmoil of COVID-19 pandemic, just weeks after he took on his new position – to return Lookers to rude health.
Last month (April) the group’s preliminary 2021 annual financial results revealed a record pre-tax profit of £90.1m – up 558% year-on-year – and revenues up 9% at £4.05bn.
Lookers’ comeback has clearly instilled confidence in Raban, who told AM that he is now aiming to “try something different”.
A hub and spoke used car retail operation and a focus on a caring culture that will nurture its workforce are both now high on the PLC’s agenda, underpinned by the creation of a redeveloped headquarters in Altrincham.
In his interview with AM, Raban said: “I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved over the past two years.
“Those on the front line have been phenomenal and the work done by our leadership team has been fantastic.”