The top Brits steering the global car business through troubled water

BRITISH BUSINESS TALENT is playing an outsize role in helping the global automotive industry navigate the toughest challenges in living memory, according to the definitive list of movers and shakers – Auto Express magazine’s ‘Brit List 2022’.

Now in its 11th year, Auto Express’s Brit List is chosen by an independent panel* of industry experts and recognises the cream of homegrown automotive executive talent who are steering the industry through a wave of global problems and seismic changes.

This year’s list of 50 British automotive business leaders – employed across the globe – also features eight women, signalling slow but steady progress for the modernisation of motor industry leadership since the Brit List began in 2012.

With fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to squeeze crucial parts supplies and the unprecedented shift to electric power this year’s list reveals Britain’s enviable pool of leadership talent.

Number one is Derby-native Stuart Rowley, Chief Transformation & Quality Officer for Ford. As well as reporting to the head of Ford globally Stuart also chairs Ford of Europe.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Creative Office, Gerry McGovern, rises to number two this year. Not only has McGovern been responsible for the look of the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, both launched this year, he’s playing a pivotal role in the reinvention of the Jaguar brand.

Scottish-born consumer electronics expert Jim Rowan also shoots into the top ten as President & CEO of Volvo after working at domestic technology giant Dyson, where he investigated the possibility of developing an electric car. And knocking on the door of the top ten is Alison Jones, formerly boss of Stellantis in the UK and now in a global role as senior vice-president of Circular Economy for Stellantis.

The progress of women into automotive leadership roles is still too slow, say Brit List judges, but point out that the first Brit List – published in 2012 – featured no women at all. They also express disappointment at the lack of black and ethnic minority business talent represented in British-born automotive’s senior executive tier.

Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Auto Express, said: “While we must not downplay the ongoing lack of gender or ethnic diversity in automotive leadership we should celebrate the business flair and expertise that sparks such demand for British executive talent.

“It’s one thing to rise to the top when business is straightforward, but the 50 names in our 2022 Brit List are winning through in the most challenging times our industry has ever faced and we are delighted to recognise their achievements.”

* Judges are drawn from Auto Express’s expert editorial team and industry specialists from senior global recruitment, media and communications.

The top ten in the Auto Express Brit List 2022

1 Stuart Rowley – Chief Transformation & Quality Officer, Ford Motor Company

2 Gerry McGovern – Chief creative officer, Jaguar Land Rover

3 Jim Rowan – President & CEO, Volvo

4 Michael Cole – President & CEO, Hyundai Motor Europe

5 Julian Blissett – Executive vice-president, General Motors, and President of GM China

6 Matt Harrison – President & CEO, Toyota Motor Europe

7 Rory Harvey – Senior vice-president, General Motors, and President, Cadillac

8 Wayne Griffiths – President, SEAT and Cupra

9 Michael Straughan – Chief Operating Officer, Aston Martin

10 Lyle Watters – General manager, Ford Passenger Vehicles, China

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