Strategic thinker Nicola influences AM100 dealer financial performance

Strategic thinker Nicola influences AM100 dealer financial performance

Brian Gilda and Nicola Gilda, of Peoples Group, with Elena Ford of the Ford Motor Company in between.

AM100 dealer group Peoples has posted pre-tax profits up 26.3% to £5.51 million and turnover increased by £31.7m to £236.7m for its results for the year ended July 31. This is the fourth year in a row that the group has reported record profits, turnover and year-on-year sales.

Peoples is the largest independent dealership in Europe selling Ford cars and commercial vehicles exclusively. It has four dealerships in the North West of England and a further three in Scotland.

Looking closer here we observe that Peoples bucked the male-dominated trend in the industry recently by appointing a woman to a strategic Board role and we had a hunch that new Group Strategy and Operations Director Nicola Gilda (pictured right in the main photograph) might have had something to do with this performance…

Group Strategy and Operations Director Nicola Gilda

Nicola is optimistic about the future performance of the group explaining that Peoples’ profits are re-invested in the business and that her role in business development has helped shape the structure and direction of the Group since her appointment to the Board 10 years ago.

During that time the business has progressed as rapidly as Nicola, in a highly competitive marketplace and despite an economic recession.

Nicola has been with Peoples Group since leaving school, combining her Personnel and Business studies at the University of Strathclyde with learning about the retail car and commercial vehicle business. Her role remains to deliver the optimum performance across the car sales, aftersales (ie car servicing and repairs) and other specialist functions within the group.

Peoples Group and Ford of Britain

As well as spending five years running one of the Peoples’ businesses in Merseyside from 2005 to 2010, Nicola has also worked closely with Ford of Britain in their Dealer Councils and was recently appointed to Ford of Europe’s consumer experience council where she sits alongside Elena Ford, Vice President global dealer and consumer experience and grand-daughter of Henry Ford II.

We are particularly thrilled to see a female with a vital background in Personnel moving into such an important and challenging role. After all, it is undoubtedly the quality of the staff and their ongoing training that sets a business apart from others, as evidenced by customer loyalty and that all-important balance sheet.

Let’s hope more AM100 dealer groups start to recognise the strategic contribution that talented female staff can make to their business future. After all, women drivers are the main gender spenders and influencers today when it comes to car and garage service sales and yet they are often highly critical of the customer service on offer. Whereas women deserve to be represented by more Female Executive Directors like Nicola, with the vision borne out of an understanding of busy female needs and expectations, alongside a mandate for cultural change.

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