In the Driving Seat: Andrew Smith, Managing Director, Vodafone Automotive UK
Andrew Smith is Managing Director of Vodafone Automotive UK (see our report about the NAA visit to this company in the newsletter below), but he invites NAA members to ask him more over a beer about the ‘unforgettable time he had in a previous role as Managing Director of Ford Greece’ – sounds like an offer that can’t be refused…
Vodafone Automotive UK
Apart from that
Member of the Institute of Directors
Association with NAA
I first met the NAA when we were based in Sale, Cheshire and the company was called Cobra UK. In 2014, Vodafone bought the company and created Vodafone Automotive UK and we moved into our new premises in Blackburn and Burnley last year.
I recently welcomed NAA members to our start-of-the-art Secure Operating Centre (SOC) in Burnley. We demonstrated how we protect more than 66,000 vehicles at Vodafone Automotive and invited members to see the Secure Operating Centre in operation providing round the clock protection as our team liaised directly with police forces across the UK and in 49 countries worldwide.
Why did you join the NAA?
We took a strategic decision to locate in the North of England and part of this was to develop opportunities and partnerships in the region and get closer to the established automotive community. We have a close link with customers such as Bentley in Crewe, but also employment and training links with both Burnley and Blackburn College to develop our own employees skills and hire apprentices. Vodafone Automotive is keen to engage with the diverse and strong network of companies within the NAA community and it’s great to be part of that and be able to support events such as the one which took place in Burnley.
I’m a ‘lifer’ in the motor industry, starting out in vehicle finance and working for Ford in the UK and overseas, with an unforgettable time as Managing Director of Ford Greece! (ask me more over a beer…). I’ve been working with telematics since 1999 and it remains one of the most exciting areas of this great industry.
Away from work I have a pampered classic Porsche 911 Carrera 4S which comes out hail or shine and each year I drive down to Le Mans with a few mates for the 24 hour race in June.
Favourite football team
Leicester City – and after years in the wilderness I was celebrating like a good ’un by dressing up as the Leicester City mascot, Filbert the Fox, when they won the premiership!
Fast and Furious
Best motoring moment
James Hunt winning the 1976 F1 world championship in Suzuka, Japan
Best business advice you’ve ever received?
It’s not a deal until the money’s in the bank.