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David Bird & Roddy Graham step down at Leasedrive

The acquisition was announced at the end of last year and saw the private equity investor HgCapital acquire 80% of the Leasedrive Group, with former major shareholder Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) and the management having rolled 20% of their investment/equity into the new financial structure. Two months later saw HgCapital acquire a majority stake in Leeds-based Zenith Vehicle Contracts from Morgan Stanley Global Private Equity (MSPE).

Commenting on his departure, Roddy Graham said: ‘This was always carefully planned and we leave the business at the top of its game and in the hands of a really strong management team with three former Leasedrive directors – Sean Farrell (white label services director), Joe Howick (rental management director) and Dominic Moran (account management director) now an integral part of the operating board of Zenith Leasedrive. As always, they will play a major role in the ongoing development and continuity of the business, supported by the excellent people at our two offices in Wokingham and Birmingham who constantly strive to deliver the highest quality bespoke vehicle management service.

‘David and I retain great pride in the business and continue as significant investors in Zenith Leasedrive and advisors to HgCapital who also completed a majority investment in Zenith earlier this year. HgCapital’s vision is to support management to grow industry champions and has provided strong backing to enable Zenith Leasedrive to further invest and develop the new merged business into an even stronger proposition for customers and prospects alike.

‘When we bought Leasedrive back in 2003, we had three clear objectives – to make a difference, to have fun and to build a successful and profitable company. I believe we have successfully achieved all three. In 2004, we launched Drive:Manager, a bespoke online total fleet management system which set new benchmark standards in terms of operational and customer service excellence within the sector. [In 2007] we formed Leasedrive VELO, after acquiring VELO, and moved up the league table. At the end of 2010, we were appointed by Investec to manage, operate and integrate the latter’s acquisition of the UK contract hire business of Masterlease UK and, 18 months later, rebranded ourselves the Leasedrive Group following the successful integration.

‘In 2003, at the time of the buy-out, Leasedrive had only 1,200 units and we presided over an 11-year period of uninterrupted growth which saw the fleet size grow to over 40,000 units under contract hire and fleet management by the end of 2013.

‘While David and I leave on a high, the success of Leasedrive during our time at the helm was down to exceptional people and fantastic customers and both remain in place. We are of the firm opinion that by combining the best of both worlds, Zenith Leasedrive will have a very bright and successful future.’

Andrew Land, HgCapital, added: ‘I would like to thank David and Roddy for their partnership with us through last year’s acquisition of Leasedrive and subsequent investment into Zenith. They built a great business that will only get stronger as part of the Zenith Leasedrive combination.’ 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.