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“The UK leads the world on talent at all levels in the motor industry”

It’s been a good news week for the UK and our 2019 Brit List shows that the future looks even brighter, says Steve Fowler

Opinion - Richard Palmer

Okay, so I know it’s not absolutely definite, but surely the news coming out of PSA that it plans to build the next generation of Astra at its Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire – conditional on the final terms of a Brexit deal – is some timely good news for the UK car industry. What could possibly go wrong?

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Here’s hoping whoever ends up as our Prime Minister in the coming weeks manages to produce a workable plan that’s good for business – whatever that may be.

The Brit List 2019: UK's top car industry execs named

The Vauxhall news came in the week we celebrate the best of British talent in the car industry with the Auto Express Brit List. This is the eighth year of our annual countdown that’s eagerly anticipated by those who work in the car world, and – judging by the feedback we get – by those of you who like to see the people who are behind the cars we drive or dream about.

We’ve had some real superstars of the business top our list over the years – men and women who have done (and still do) incredible things. And this year’s number one is a man who’s played a pivotal role in the turnaround of some of the greatest car brands in the car world.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is home to names as big and diverse as Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and RAM on top of those that form the group’s name. And Richard Palmer is the Brit who, as CFO, has helped steer the company into better health than many predicted.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Palmer recently, and he proved to be a hugely impressive and humble guy. He’s clearly a talent when it comes to helping to manage the entire FCA business, but he also came across as a thoroughly decent bloke. “It may sound trite,” he said, “but for me it’s all about being part of a team really. The best thing about this business is the people.”

Brits have always over-indexed on the global stage, and our Top 50 proves once again that the UK leads the world on talent – at all levels in the motor industry.

Click here to read more opinion pieces from the Auto Express team....

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