Daksh Gupta accepts role outside of car industry as he joins building merchants

  • Former Marshall boss has accepted a role as CEO of Huws Gray
  • Gupta will join builders merchants but still play ‘close attention’ to the motor trade
  • Gupta left his role at Marshall in May last year after Constellation took it private

Time 10:23 am, December 1, 2023

Former Marshall Motor Group CEO Daksh Gupta has accepted a role outside the motoring industry joining a building merchants as its CEO.

Gupta has been appointed CEO designate of Huws Gray, a 30-year-old business that trades from more than 300 locations across the UK, and will join the firm on January 2.

Speaking exclusively to Car Dealer, Gupta said he will still pay close attention to the motor trade and will continue to work for Ford on its agency model one day a month as well as continue working with the IMI.

He said: ‘Obviously, the motor trade is always going to have a special place in my heart, particularly for the people I’ve worked with and the brands that have supported me – it’s been a whirlwind. 

‘There’s a lot of similarities and a lot of read across from my experience to the new role. And when you look at the progress the organisation’s made in recent years, it’s really impressive.’

Huws Gray Limited is the largest building merchants in the UK and employs around 5,000 people and last year turned over £1.5bn, making £60m profit before tax. EBITDA profit was £147.2m.

The business is backed by private equity house Blackstone.

He added: ‘For me this is an opportunity to go and run a fantastic company. It’s a business of significant scale, hundreds of locations and multi brand. It’s had a phenomenal track record in terms of growth. 

‘The opportunity to work with Blackstone, who are probably regarded as the most preeminent financial asset management companies in the world, was just incredible.’

Gupta said the interview process was intense and the ‘big opportunity’ it presented was too good to miss.

He added: ‘As we discussed previously, the reality is there are very few roles in the automotive industry, that would be, I think, appealing for me to go to. 

‘This role will challenge me personally and take the experience that I’ve got, because there are a lot of characteristics that are very similar.’

Gupta said this was not him leaving the motor trade for good as he will continue his consultancy work for Ford and will always pay close attention to the industry where he has ‘a lot of friends’.

‘Yes, my work in the car industry is obviously going to be scaled back considerably, but it’s an industry I have a lot of affection for and a lot of love for,’ he added.

‘Of course I will continue to have a keen interest in it. But I think no role would have been the same in terms of what I’d done previously. 

‘There were opportunities. I said no to probably six roles both inside and outside the industry. But this is a fantastic opportunity, with really good people and a phenomenally impressive company.’

Gupta left his role at Marshall Motor Group in May 2022 following Constellation Automotive Group taking the business private after a £325m swoop on the listed business. Profit at Marshall has since nearly halved, its latest accounts revealed.

Last week, former Marshall CEO Daksh Gupta told the Car Dealer Inspiring Leaders Podcast (watch at the top of this post) that he left the role when he realised decisions would no longer sit with him as the CEO. 

He said: ‘I think people can get why I made that decision. It’s nothing against Constellation or any of the individuals there. It’s just a personal preference that I think I would have struggled personally in that environment.’

Ian Northern, the current CEO of Huws Gray will hand over to Gupta on February 1, after serving 14 years with the company.

Terry Owen, founder and chairman of the group, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Daksh as our new chief executive, after an extensive search process. 

‘Daksh is a dynamic, values-driven business leader who has a diverse background of experiences and an outstanding track record. The board looks forward to Daksh realising the full potential of Huws Gray as a winning business which delivers long-term growth and value for all its stakeholders.’

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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