Kevin Gaskell is an energetic and passionate leader with a proven record of managing growth, driving successful turnarounds and delivering substantial improvements in company's already considered to be market leaders. Kevin headed UK operations for Porche and BMW and in the space of five years he bought Porche back from the brink of bankruptcy to the UK's most profitable car company and BMW, record growth during which sales improved by 40% and profitability increased by 250%.
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Kevin Gaskell is a natural communicator with the ability to build and motivate a management team and to enthuse staff at all levels within an organisation. He qualified as an engineer and accountant and completed his MBA before starting his career in the construction sector from where he moved into the chemical industry and then the automotive sector.
In 1987 Kevin joined Porsche GB Limited and four years later, at the age of 32, was appointed UK Managing Director. Inheriting a business which was close to bankruptcy he built a world class team to focus the business back to its engineering heritage. In the space of five years Porsche was changed from a struggling business into the UK’s most profitable car company. For this Kevin was recognised as ‘One of the top 40 managers under 40 in the UK’. In 1996 he accepted the role of Managing Director of BMW (GB) Ltd where he formed a team who challenged themselves to challenge the business. This led to four years of record growth during which sales improved by 40% and profitability increased by 250%.
In 2000, to the surprise of the automotive sector, he left BMW to seek a new challenge as European Chief Executive of CarsDirect.com, an American pioneer in the online sale of cars. Finding their model would not translate to Europe the shareholders quickly retrenched to the USA. The European team used the opportunity to create epyx Limited; a business which, in only eight years, became the UK’s leading provider of e-commerce solutions to the automotive fleet sector. Kevin was a founder board member of this team from 2001 until 2009 when he sold his interest to the management team and HgCapital.
In parallel to epyx Kevin was appointed as Group Chief Executive of EurotaxGlass’s AG. Between 2001 and 2007 he led an international team who converted 31 national print based companies into the global leader in the provision of online data, systems and software to the automotive sector. In 2007 he led a €480 million MBO before stepping into the role of non executive President. He left the company in 2010.
Kevin is actively involved in a number of companies, with the following positions: Chairman Achilles Group – Global leader in the management of supplier data. Chairman Courland Automotive Limited – International automotive executive search firm. Associate Partner Admetam GmbH – European corporate development/restructuring consultancy. Associate Partner DDA Consulting – Management skills development and team building
Kevin’s appetite for adventure is equally evident outside business. He celebrated his 40th birthday by climbing on Mount Everest and in 2006 walked unsupported to the North Pole to raise money for Cancer Research. Three years later he then walked, this time with his 18 year old son, to the South Pole to raise more funds for charity. He has recently climbed Kilimanjaro as he begins his next adventure – the ‘Seven Summits’. In less demanding moments he has played international cricket (for Wales) but now relaxes by playing in a rock band, The Hods.
Few people have led three of the world’s iconic brands to new levels of success and managed successful turnarounds of failing international companies. Even fewer have created a market leading business from nothing. Include experience of playing international sport and walking to both the North and South poles and you have someone with a unique set of skills.
Kevin draws upon these experiences and those of his on-going chairmanship of a number of companies to share practical lessons of how people can be motivated to form teams which achieve extraordinary results, outlined in his five principles of leadership.
Recognised as one of the most capable leaders of his generation he uses an open and involving style to share with the audience the methods and techniques to drive their own business to greater success – ‘What to do on Monday morning’.
The role of the leader
What is the job specification of a corporate leader? How can the leader create a positive corporate culture and drive a business to success? What does a leader need to bring to the role and what can they expect to take from it? How can they achieve extraordinary results, even in difficult markets?
Leadership or Heroship?
Achieving success in adversity. Fewer than 100 people have walked to both the North and South Poles. Using practical lessons contrasting the experience of walking to the poles with that of driving business success key messages are discussed and a structured approach to achieving success identified.
*This topic can also take the form of 2 x 1 hour sessions where one session focuses on lessons from the polar expeditions whilst the second translates those lessons to the business environment.
Building a world class company
Great companies evolve and make progress despite, or sometimes due to, difficult environments.
How does a company ensure it has a clear vision and an aligned team? What steps should a leader take to drive the business onto the next level of success? How can it be fun for everyone involved?
Building a world class brand
Great companies build great brands. How are brands developed and how is long term value enhancement achieved? How does the brand’s position within its market segment affect the product perception? Repositioning of the Porsche and BMW brands are used to illustrate the process.
Automotive sector commentary
Specific issues including the development of the European retail market, legislation, financial perspectives for retail dealers and vehicle manufacturers.