Updated: Big Motoring World’s Peter Waddell fuming as used car supermarket says he’s taking ‘leave of absence’

  • Rumours circulating that Peter Waddell has been removed from his post
  • Big Motoring World CEO says he is ‘not taking leave of absence’, but firm says he is
  • Used car supermarket boss appeared on stage at Car Dealer Live yesterday

Time 2:53 pm, March 8, 2024

Used car dealer Peter Waddell says rumours he has been removed from his post at Big Motoring World are a ‘load of b******s’ – but the firm insists he’s taking a ‘leave of absence’.

A statement from the used car supermarket group this afternoon says the outspoken CEO is stepping away from his role for a ‘leave of absence’ and the executive chairman has taken over day to day operations.

Car Dealer sources said staff at the used car supermarket group were told today that Waddell – who was a headline interviewee at Car Dealer Live yesterday (March 7) – had been removed from his post.

An email is said to have been sent to staff by the board informing them of the immediate changes to the business. Sources say staff were told they should not speak about the changes.

A spokesperson for Big Motoring World told Car Dealer: ‘Peter Waddell has taken a leave of absence from Big Motoring World, with Laurence Vaughan, executive chairman taking on his responsibilities on an interim basis.

‘Peter remains an employee and shareholder in the group.’

Car Dealer spoke to Waddell as he was driving away from the firm’s new head office earlier this afternoon, and he said: ‘It’s a load of b******s.

‘I have just left the head office. I own 62% of the shares.

‘I am not taking a leave of absence – I am certainly not doing that.’

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Rumours are rife that Waddell has fallen out with the private equity backers, Freshstream, which injected funds into the business and helped him rapidly expand the group.

Freshstream told Car Dealer it has ‘no comment to make’.

Last year, Waddell bought two Available Cars sites and before that bought SW Car Supermarkets. In the last five years he has expanded to eight sites, opening a new dealership in Wimbledon recently.

At Car Dealer Live yesterday, Waddell said he had offered to buy all of Cazoo’s stock after the online used car dealership said it would be transitioning to a marketplace and would stop selling cars.

Waddell spoke on stage for 25 minutes about his business and how he plans to expand it. At no point did he give any indication he was about to leave the used car dealership group.

Asked about the Freshstream investment, Waddell said he ‘had the business sold’, but had a pact with his team that he wouldn’t sell out until he was 63 – in five years’ time.

‘Boxers can’t stay in the ring forever,’ he said.

Waddell also spoke about his experience of having a ‘partner’ in business, following his failed online used car dealership project Carzam.

Asked if he had learned anything from that, he said: ‘Don’t take a partner. It’s probably the best words I can tell you. When you have a partner, he wants to go this way and you want to go that way.’

You can watch back the full interview with Waddell on the website with a streaming ticket which will allow you to replay all of the sessions.

First posted 14:53, Updated 15:21 with comments from Big Motoring World and Freshstream’s response; Updated again at 16:20 with comments from Peter Waddell on Car Dealer Live stage

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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