Neil Williamson, JardineNeil Williamson, Jardine


Neil Williamson to get top job leading Lithia’s Pendragon and Jardine dealer group

  • Former Jardine Motors boss will lead Pendragon and Jardine group
  • Lithia’s Uk arm will be one of the top three most profitable in the UK
  • Deal catapults Lithia among the biggest car dealer players in the country

Time 1:56 pm, September 19, 2023

Jardine Motors Group former CEO Neil Williamson will head up Lithia Motor’s new larger group if the Pendragon deal goes ahead.

The company confirmed to Car Dealer today that Williamson – who was appointed UK regional president for Lithia following its £300m acquisition of Jardine in March – will lead the larger business if the deal goes through.

Lithia made a £280m bid for Pendragon’s car dealerships and leasing business, including a £30m investment in Pinewood, yesterday.

Bill Berman, current CEO of Pendragon, is due to remain with the renamed Pinewood Technologies business which retains its listing on the stock market. 

Williamson will head up the combined business which will become the third most profitable group in the Car Dealer Top 100 with combined EBITDA profits of around £231m.

In terms of revenue, the newly formed combined group will be the second largest dealer group in the UK ranked on revenue with £5bn turnover to its name, behind first placed Sytner’s £5.7bn.

Lithia’s UK operations will operate more than 200 car dealerships representing 25 manufacturers if shareholders give the proposed deal the nod. 

Just 51 per cent of them are required to back the asset sale deal for it to go through, meaning 26 per cent shareholder Hedin can’t block the deal. It’s expected the deal will go through in the fourth quarter of this year.

Williamson led Jardine Motors Group for more than eight years as CEO. Previously he was managing director of Seat UK for two years, and MD of Mercedes Benz Retail Group for eight years prior to that.

Car Dealer asked Lithia to comment on Williamson’s new role but it said it would ‘not be providing a comment’. However, it confirmed he would lead the larger business.

At the time of the Jardine acquisition and his appointment as UK regional president, Williamson said: ‘We are delighted to have found in Lithia a partner committed to further growth and development of our team and our network.

‘Their support and expertise will enable us to capture the considerable growth opportunities we see ahead. 

‘I am confident we will thrive under this new partnership and look forward to working closely together as we realise our growth ambitions in the UK.’

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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