Northgate has further strengthened its executive team with the appointment of a new UK sales director, Ruth Spratt, and a new UK marketing director, Karen Whittingham.
The appointments follow the recent announcement that former G4S UK and Ireland CEO and global COO Eddie Aston joined the company as UK managing director. Spratt and Whittingham will work closely with Aston to deliver Northgate’s continued growth plans.
Aston said: “Northgate is an excellent business with significant potential, and the talented executive team that we are assembling here is well-placed to guide the business to greater heights.
“Ruth and Karen both have impressive records in their respective fields, and their passion for putting the customer at the centre of everything they do will continue to shape Northgate’s ethos.”
Spratt brings with her a wealth of experience, having held senior sales and management positions in large organisations and PLCs for over 20 years. She joins Northgate from EasyJet, where she was responsible for establishing the airline as a credible choice for business travel, and led the European team across nine markets. She has also worked with the Guardian Media Group as managing director, and was station director of Channel MTV.
Whittingham joins Northgate with more than 20 years’ experience gained from a variety of global marketing positions within the mobile communications and technology sectors. Previously, as marketing director, Honeywell Global Tracking, she led the development of new telematics solutions and prior to that, held leadership positions at Vodafone Global Enterprise and marketing director, EMEA at Motorola Network Communications Division.
Spratt said: “Northgate has a loyal customer base that is very satisfied with the service we provide, but there is a huge opportunity to expand the company’s reach - after all, anyone who uses a light commercial vehicle is a potential customer, no matter how large or small their operation.
“My role is to work with the sales team to ensure that we offer a tailored service to every customer and educate them on how our vehicle solutions will benefit their business.”
The new appointments form part of a strategic focus to extend the Northgate offering into new markets through the adoption of new technologies and services, building on recent significant investment in fleet, branch and workshop infrastructure.
Whittingham said: “It is clear that Northgate is well-regarded within the industry and by its customers. We are putting the customer at the heart of our decision making - recent insight has demonstrated significant opportunity to enhance our proposition and deliver solutions that enable our customers to manage their fleets more efficiently. My focus is on building the Northgate brand and clarifying our business proposition.
“There are exciting times ahead with new technologies coming to market, and by working closely as a new management team, I am certain that Northgate can retain and build on its position as market leader in light commercial vehicle solutions.”
The company has enjoyed a healthy period of growth in recent years and announced strong interim results for the half year ending on October 31, 2015 with underlying operating profit of £33.4 million in the UK and Ireland. As at October 31, 2015, Northgate had 47,500 vehicles on hire, with growth in the SME market of 800 during the half year.
The company opened five new branches in the 12 months from October 2014 to 2015, taking the total number of branches in the UK and Ireland to 77, with its head office in Darlington.