I would like to be able to say that my day starts with a five-mile run or a visit to the gym, but sadly it doesn’t! When the alarm goes off at around 6.30am, breakfast consists of cereal or toast and a cup of tea always tea.
After that the day typically takes one of three forms. I have never been lucky or clever enough to live close to where I work like most people I guess I have always had to commute.
Before joining the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) in July last year, I had spent the previous 13 years (out of a total of around 30 as an oil company employee), with Total and then Rontec, which meant a car journey via the M25 from my Surrey home to Watford. The PRA has its base in central London so if I’m going into the office it’s a train into Waterloo and then a tube to Regents Park. Otherwise it’s either going to be driving somewhere, or to my home office the shortest commute of all!
My boss is Brian Madderson, who is well known among the fuel-retailing fraternity. He, like me, gets out and about quite a bit so inevitably we meet up infrequently.
Naturally we communicate daily, particularly on the lobbying work that he is doing tirelessly on behalf of fuel retailers across a broad spectrum of issues of importance within our sector. We also compare notes on new membership opportunities.
The PRA represents independent fuel retailers across mainland UK and Northern Ireland, and one of the ways that we engage with members is via our programme of events, of which there are more than 20 this year. For the further flung ones, I will travel the afternoon before to meet up with my PRA colleagues: Steve, our membership manager; and Phil, our technical director. Each of us is present at the events so we will discuss the format for the following day, perhaps over a bite to eat and a glass or two of red wine. The feedback from attendees at these events is always very positive and I would encourage any fuel retailer, PRA member or not, to try to get to at least one, to see for yourself.
For most of the time I’ve been in the industry, I’ve been involved with service stations, so I like to think I can use that experience to the benefit of independents truly a case of poacher turned gamekeeper. So far I am enjoying the interaction. With most oil companies in the UK retreating from ownership and operation of service stations, this really is a ’golden era’ for independent fuel retailers. The statistics support this, showing an increase in the number of dealer sites at the end of 2013 compared with 2012. When was the last time we could say that?
The PRA also has a commercial role in negotiating preferential rates for the provision of goods and services for our members. This involves regular meetings which are normally held in our London office. We have negotiated rates for services such as wet-stock management, banking, insurance, card polling and telecoms to name a few. and are always looking to extend our portfolio. Of course, I have a very close working relationship with our existing commercial partners, especially Vianet Fuel Services (VFS) which for 12 months now has hosted the Big Oil fuel management and pricing tool and is adding complementary services to it all the time. I therefore frequently touch base with the VFS sales director, Phil Prow.
Out of working hours, my big passion is for all things car-related, and especially motor racing it’s why I started working in this industry in the first place. Having followed Formula 1 since I was a kid, over the years I have managed to get to a number of foreign and British Grand Prix, Le Mans etc. When on holiday I have always managed to find a race track or a car museum to visit, much to my family’s irritation! These days I prefer to watch older cars race and so I often joke that the first dates in my diary annually are the two events held at Goodwood, followed by family birthdays etc! I also love doing track days but try to avoid using my own car just in case!
Name: Richard Chadderton
Company: Retail Motor Industry Federation/PRAJob title:Head of petrolCareer history:Downstream oil industry, mostly in retail fuels management rolesGreatest achievement: Secured Fina’s first UK motorway presence seems like a long time ago now!Tips for business success: Keep things simpleMost likely to say: "Would we do it this way if it was our own money?"Least likely to say: "Can you explain it to me in a spreadsheet format?"Other interests: Motor racing, photography, football