Mark Slade is the head of Kwik Fit’s British operations – but who is the tyre giant’s MD and what kind of career path has led him to this role? We’re going to explore his career history and learn more about Kwik Fit as a whole in this article.
Kwik Fit is one of the UK’s biggest tyre brands, reporting a huge £481.7-million turnover in 2018 and a pre-tax profit of £54.4 million. But who is holding the reigns of this British behemoth and what kind of career path leads you to become the head of a well-establish British tyre fitting brand? Let’s meet Kwik Fit’s UK boss, Mark Slade, and find out more about how he rose to the top of the tyre fitting company.
Who is Kwik Fit’s CEO, Mark Slade?
The person at the top of Kwik Fit’s UK operations is Mark Slade, who has been in his role as UK Managing Director since February 2018. Prior to that, his primary role was sitting on the board of the European Tyre Enterprise Limited, part of the Kwik Fit group, as its Chief Financial Officer.
According to Slade’s LinkedIn profile, he’s a qualified Chartered Accountant and an experienced mergers and acquisitions (M&A) professional. He’s enjoyed a long and varied career focusing on financial services, beginning in 1999. Slade qualified at BDO, where he completed his ACA training and moved into the role of audit manager.
£481.7 million The turnover achieved by Kwik Fit in 2018
Following a brief period as internal auditor at Woolworths, Slade returned to BDO and took on his first ‘director’ role. For the next seven years, he would oversee the transaction services team. In 2012, Slade became group CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of European Tyre Enterprise Group, the parent group behind Kwik Fit’s operations. He still sits on the board there as the head of the international group’s financial matters.
However, since early 2018, Slade moved into the role of Kwik Fit’s Managing Director. This role involves making practical decisions for the company on a daily basis, particularly for its retail department, which he states is the area he spends most of his day managing. Though he’s technically not the CEO (Kwik Fit doesn’t have a dedicated CEO, though Yasuyuki Harada is CEO of European Tyre Enterprise), Slade is the man in charge of shaping and leading Kwik Fit’s branches across the UK.
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What is Kwik Fit?
Kwik Fit is one of the UK’s largest and most recognisable car servicing and repair companies, providing speedy service seven days a week. You’ve probably seen one of its distinctive centres in your town or city, with its strongly recognisable blue and yellow branding and conveniently positioned centres.
It has more than 600 centres across the country and Ireland, in addition to 200 dedicated van-based technicians that can fit tyres wherever its clients are. Kwik Fit’s garages offer a range of affordably priced car repair services including tyre fitting, brake maintenance and repair, exhaust work, MOT testing, air conditioning recharge and windscreen repair.
Kwik Fit’s history
Kwik Fit began life in the city of Edinburgh back in 1971, when Sir Tom Farmer decided to open his own car repair centre. The company grew quickly as Farmer acquired small automotive repair centres and transformed them into Kwik Fit garages. In 1973, he took the plunge and decided to open the first international centre in Holland. By 1999, the Kwik Fit empire had grown to an impressive size, with more than 570 additional centres across mainland Europe.
The automotive company is now the leading fast-fit supplier of tyres in the UK, with more than 600,000 products in its stock catalogue. In addition to value-priced tyres, Kwik Fit stocks leading manufacturers including Pirelli, Goodyear, Michelin, Dunlop and Continental.
In 2011, Kwik Fit was acquired by Japanese giant ITOCHU Corporation, which operates a huge range of finance, construction, production and energy companies across the globe, as well as other tyre retailers and fitters.
Does Kwik Fit franchise?
Kwik Fit welcomes franchisees across Europe and is on the hunt for both master franchisees to introduce the Kwik Fit name to new countries and centre franchisees to facilitate expansion in countries where it already has a presence.
You’ll need plenty of automotive knowledge, preferably having owned and operated your own garages in the past and to have located premises that are suitable for conversion into a Kwik Fit centre. Unfortunately, Kwik Fit doesn’t seem to have any franchise opportunities in the UK at the moment, instead focusing its franchising efforts on areas where its presence is less well-known.
Other franchise opportunities in the automotive industry
Though you’re not able to join Kwik Fit as a franchisee here in the UK, there are lots of other opportunities to make your living at the head of your very own automotive franchise. Here are some of the most exciting tyre and automotive franchises currently looking for new faces here at Point Franchise.
If you’re looking to invest in a tyre franchise, Etyres could be the one for you. The UK’s only online tyre franchise is on the hunt for franchisees across the country and you could become part of its network for just £24,000.
Founded in 1992, Etyres filled a gap in the market with its unique home tyre-fitting service, travelling to customers’ homes to quickly and efficiently change their tyres. After a few years of success, the company realised that it could expand to other regions across the UK by franchising its business model and opened its first franchised location in 1996. Word spread quickly and Etyres was able to expand across the country over the next few years. Now, it has locations across the nation, in areas including the Midlands, East of England, London, Scotland and many more.
You won’t need to have any previous experience in the automotive or tyre fitting industry to become part of Etyres’ network. The franchise’s only stipulation is that you’ll need to be great at communicating and working with other people, so that you can build up a customer base quickly. You can also secure a loan of up to 70 percent of the total investment, as Etyres has excellent links to a number of major national banks.
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Another excellent tyre franchise is Hometyre, which is looking for ambitious franchisees who can help it grow and operate in new areas all across the country. The specialist mobile tyre company caters to a huge range of a cars, lorries, vans and motorbikes and has established partnerships with internationally recognised brands (including Dunlop, Good Year, Michelin and Toyo) over the years.
Hometyre was founded back in 2003 by Andy Lawrence, as he recognised a lack of mobile tyre providers across the country. He wanted to offer a service that meant motorists wouldn’t need to visit a tyre-fitting centre or garage, getting their tyres replaced at home or at work instead.
If you’re looking to invest, you’ll need a minimum of £20,000 and will need to be a people-person who can build a strong network of clients quickly. You’ll also need to be ready to operate in the unpredictable British weather.
If you’re looking to find out more about the range of automotive and tyre franchise opportunities, explore our range of exciting options right here.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©