president's committee

John Neill CBE, President

Chief Executive of the Unipart Group of Companies and a former President of the SMMT

Despite his tremendous workload John has been an inspirational leader who rarely misses an AFI meeting and has a fantastic wit to enliven meetings with laughter. From his personal point of view, he finds that at almost every meeting he identifies a business opportunity which he can implement virtually immediately, an interesting idea he can work on for the future and meet people that he would never otherwise have met who, over time, often become friends.

Trevor Jones, Chairman

Trevor founded what is now ASE in 1975.

He is renowned as one of the leading experts in the industry and picked up the accolade of Outstanding Achievement Award at the Motor Trader Awards. Trevor is regarded as one of the most authoritative voices in the car retailing sector.

Steve Nash, Vice President

CEO, Institute of the Motor Industry

Currently CEO of the IMI and previously Aftersales Director for BMW (UK), Steve has worked in the motor industry on both retail and manufacturing since graduating in 1977. He has a passion for improving leadership skills, sector innovation and ensuring that the retail industry offers an aspirational career path.

Robert Forrester, Vice President

Chief Executive Officer, Vertu Motors

Robert is a member of the Economic Affairs Committee of the CBI. Before leading the fast-growing Vertu Motors plc, he was Managing Director of Reg Vardy plc. He has a strong belief in the value of manufacturer brands and is a keen advocate of the role of Visions and Values in business leadership.

Mike Jones, Vice President

Chairman, ASE

ASE (the parent company of AFI) is the leading business management, professional services and consultancy firm serving the global automotive industry and known in the UK for publishing the monthly UK retailer performance summary. Recognised as an industry expert, Mike writes articles for automotive publications and presents at industry conferences on dealer profitability as well as hosting the annual UK dealer trip to NADA.

Laura Coase, Vice President

Founder of Automotive Marketing on Demand

With over 30 years' automotive marketing experience gained globally within dealers, manufacturers, marketing agencies and profitability specialists; Laura provides an 'on demand' service. Automotive Marketing on Demand supports the strategic or operational needs of a business operating in the automotive sector, with an interim marketing resource to save the costs of a permanent employee.

Laura is passionate about driving content from the AFI that it's members can't access elsewhere, empowering them with greater thought leadership as well as providing a high level but informal networking forum.

Dale Wyatt

Dale Wyatt, Director of Suzuki GB PLC

With a reputation for delivering a true partnership between manufacturer and dealer, Dale is committed to maintaining an aligned profitable dealer network. Under his leadership Suzuki has recently secured the NFDA Manufacturer of the Year Award. Passionate about keeping business simple and focusing on the "True and the New" he is an enthusiastic member of the AFI team who is always ready to challenge the President's Committee to continue delivering excellent speakers and stimulating content for the benefit of its membership.

Julia Muir

Julia Muir, Founder of Gaia Innovation Ltd

Gaia Innovation Ltd, a company helping dealers to become fully digital retailers. She has over 25 years' experience in automotive retailing and manufacturing across several disciplines and has worked in the UK, Germany and Spain. Julia teaches at the Loughborough University School of Business and Economics Centre for Automotive Management. She is the Founder of the UK Automotive 30% Club. Julia is also involved in voluntary work for the industry and was awarded the 2016 Mary Lou Carrington Award by the Worshipful Company of Educators.

Christopher Walkinshaw, Vice President

Group Corporate Communications Director, Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings Limited)

Christopher Walkinshaw is Group Corporate Communications Director for Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Limited. From 1999 until 2015 he was a Director of Marshall Motor Holdings up until it was floated on the AIM market. Christopher is a non-executive director at Marshall Motor Holdings plc and has been a longstanding member of AFI. He brings a wealth of automotive skills and knowledge to the President's Committee.

Simon Hetherington, Commercial Director

Kia Motors UK Limited

Over the last 10 years Kia has grown market share and brand reputation, built on a platform of partnership with the dealer network. Simon has been part of the management team that has overseen this transformation, and since 2016 has served as Commercial Director. As a member of the AFI over many years he has valued the insight and sharing of ideas and thinking, and now welcomes the opportunity to support the Presidents Committee to focus on challenging thinking and inspiring innovation in our industry.