When I get up at around 6.30am each weekday morning I can be sure of one thing that the working day ahead will bring a whole range of new challenges and opportunities.
I took on the role of Esso’s dealer operations manager for the UK & Ireland in November last year, and three months into the job, it is already clear to me that there is no such thing as an average working day in this role each day is totally different.
I am responsible for all of Esso’s sales to independent dealers operating Esso-branded service stations in the UK and the Irish Republic. The work involves building and maintaining strong relations with dealers, and working with them to build sales and promote the Esso fuel and Mobil lubricants brands.
Although I lead sales teams covering the two countries, I like to meet with dealers personally. To really understand the market you need to meet and speak with all types of operators. I have started to meet with both the big operators and with smaller dealers, including a number of excellent single-site operators I enjoy meeting with them all, and I find I learn from all sizes of operation.
Based at home in a small village near Guildford, Surrey, I usually grab a coffee and toast for breakfast. I spend between one and two days a week in my home office and the rest in offices or on the road, both in the UK and Ireland. I try to focus where the business will benefit most from my attention.
This is not my first role in the dealer business. I have worked for Esso in a wide variety of jobs since leaving University in Edinburgh back in 1980, and in the early 1990s I was dealer territory manager for Hampshire. There are still a fair number of people I know in the business from those days.
Both the UK and Ireland have seen many changes, particularly with the rise of the supermarkets, and a lot of rationalisation has taken place. There is certainly no shortage of competition today, but we have a good team and have shown that it is still possible to grow in this market with strong brands and the right offer.
Last year the number of Esso dealers in the UK grew significantly and that is something we all feel good about.
Though I rarely stop for lunch, I admit that when travelling I occasionally drop into an Esso-branded service station for a sandwich on the run!
In my previous role I was responsible for sales of Mobil 1 and Mobil automotive lubricants in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. I am delighted to be building on that experience in my new role and am very pleased with the positioning of the Esso and Mobil 1 brands in the UK and Irish markets.
On the good days, when working from home, I aim to finish before 7pm. The best time of the day for me is when I close the office door and join the family. The Blackberry is an interruption, but I try to keep it to a minimum. I am usually away a couple of nights a week and these are long days. I believe that one of the secrets of success has been the strong support of my wife, two children and two Springer Spaniels. If you are working long hours and travelling a lot, it certainly helps if you have a tolerant and happy family.
I am a keen sportsman (golf, cycling, skiing and walking the dogs) and have supported Heart of Midlothian since my youth but now, located south west of London, I also follows my son’s favourite team, Chelsea. The experience of working overseas for eight years in various roles for Esso, has also whetted another interest, namely foreign travel.
I genuinely thoroughly enjoy my work, dealing both with customers and the different businesses within the ExxonMobil group of Companies. I believe the secret for success in this business is recognising the importance of people whether within your team or among your customers. It is essential to understand what drives them, what is important to them and to respect them and their achievements.