1999, is to leave the business at the end of March.
(LBG), after Lloyds TSB and HBOS, Lex’s previous owner, merged
earlier this year.
Nigel Stead, formerly the managing director of
Lloyds TSB’s fleet contract hire and leasing company Autolease, is
to take over the running of the two fleet businesses as of early
March, which will be led by a single senior management team, LBG
The MD of LBG’s asset finance division, David
Oldfield said: “Jon has decided to pursue work outside the
financial services market and we offer him our best wishes as he
prepares to leave the group.
“Nigel Stead has been in the contract hire industry
for many years and is well known and highly respected.
“We are already planning how to bring the Lex and
Autolease businesses together to create a very strong and
innovative market leader offering the highest levels of service,
buying power and industry expertise.
“Our over-riding goal will be to use the combined
strength of both businesses to further enhance the relationships
with our customers and consistently add value to their day-to-day
Lex is the largest fleet provider in the UK with
246,000 vehicles on its books.
Lloyds TSB Autolease, meanwhile, manages a fleet of
126,000 units, meaning that any combined Lex-Autolease entity will
have a fleet size of over 372,000 vehicles in its portfolio,
dwarfing the next-largest fleet operator, LeasePlan, which has a
fleet of 130,000 units.
Fleet consultant Colin Tourick commented: “This
creates a colossus, the likes of which has never been seen in the
“The good news is that the new entity will benefit
from huge economies of scale, and first-rate systems and technology
“On the negative side, the challenge is going to be
making sure that people don’t feel that they are just numbers.
“Even a big fleet customer might find itself
feeling like a small fish in a big pond within a company of this
size, so making every client feels valued is going to be the real
Sale rumours scotched
The personnel change news comes hard on
the heels of press rumours about a possible sell-off of Lex.
The Daily Telegraph reported at
the end of January that “several major private equity players” had
been approached by Lex over the last two months in order to gauge
levels of support for a buyout.
In addition, Lex is understood to be facing lease
impairment charges of around £300 million.
The impairment charges relate to the shortfall in
actual selling prices achieved versus predicted residual values of
vehicles coming off-lease.
Lex has £2.4 billion in debt, the Telegraph
reported, while it is estimated by fleet insiders that Lex’s weekly
operating costs and asset finance could be as high as £20
One leasing industry expert, who did not wish to be
named, commented: “Quite simply, who is there left with the money
to buy Lex?
“The only people I can think of with this sort of
sum to hand these days are the Middle Eastern investment funds and
sovereign funds – but whether they will want to invest in the UK
vehicle leasing industry is another matter entirely.”
The government-backed Lloyds Banking Group has
indicated it expects to make annual cost savings of over £1 billion
as a result of the merger – with the fleet businesses an obvious
A spokesman for Lex declined to comment