Former M&S chairman joins Zenith

rose stuart

Zenith, one of the UK’s largest vehicle leasing companies, has appointed Lord Rose as its chairman.

Lord Rose has more than 40 years of experience in the consumer and retail sectors during which time he served as chief executive of major companies including Argos, Arcadia, Booker and Marks & Spencer.

He was chairman of Marks and Spencer from 2008 to 2011 and was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility. He was granted a life peerage in 2014.

Among his current business interests, he is chairman of Ocado, the online supermarket and of active lifestyle retailer FatFace.

He is also a non-executive director of Woolworths Holdings in South Africa.

Established in 1989 and headquartered in Leeds, Zenith focuses on both the corporate car and consumer markets, with services that range from funding company cars or commercial vehicles and providing flexible employee benefit schemes to delivering fully-outsourced fleet management services.

It also provides white label back office fleet management systems and services to vehicle manufacturers and financial services businesses.

Zenith was acquired by the European private equity group Bridgepoint this year in a transaction totalling £750 million. Lord Rose is a member of Bridgepoint’s advisory board.

The deal was Zenith’s sixth MBO in 28 years. This supported the acquisition of CVL, which expanded Zenith’s operations in the heavy goods vehicle market.

Zenith was recently recognised as one of the fastest growing private companies in the UK in the Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250.

Tim Buchan, chief executive officer of Zenith, said: “I am delighted that Stuart is joining Zenith as our chairman. He has had a fantastic business career and has unparalleled experience in understanding the consumer, all of which will be important to the future development of our company.”

Lord Rose said: “I am impressed by Zenith’s growth story: the UK fleet services market is a large, growing and resilient market so we will all have even more to go for. I very much look forward to working with the team.”