Dealers' parts sales to face "aggressive" challenge from GSF's new leaders

Franchised dealers’ sales of trade parts could come under more pressure soon as motor factor rival GSF Car Parts has built a new leadership team and is going for growth.

Backed by private equity firm Epiris and the Ahluwalia family since its acquisition in November, GSF now has recruited strategic leaders experienced in e-commerce and customer care, people recruitment and development, digital optimisation and marketing and sales and operations.

It aims to expand its network of 180 car parts depots to 200 this year, and then to 220 in 2025, and in December its executive chairman Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia – the entrepreneur who founded Euro Car Parts in 1981 and sold it 30 years later for £280 million to LKQ – said: “It’s so good to be back in the industry and helping to lead GSF forward… By working with our industry’s best suppliers, recruiting and retaining the best people and delivering every element of the basics through exceptional service to customers, we will supercharge GSF and take this business to the next level in the years to come.”

GSF has now completed a period of aggressive talent acquisition to establish its new leadership team tasked with supercharging its business.

Chief talent officer.Martin Gray brings experience from the rapid growth of Phones4u and Euro Car Parts. Chief customer officer Alistair Preston previously co-founded, scaled and exited the UK’s largest online marketplace for car repairs, Chris Barella, GSF’s new digital director, spent 21 years at Euro Car Parts growing its e-commerce from zero to £250m.

Paul Wright, sales and operations director, has more than 20 years experience in the independent aftermarket and most recently occupied a strategic B2B role at Euro Car Parts. National accounts and garage equipment director Lee Forty previously occupied key leadership positions in workshop solutions, garage concepts and commercial directorship at both Euro Car Parts and Integrated Supply Network.

And David Bevan, who has had various director-level roles at Partco, Unipart Automotive and Euro Car Parts, has joined as corporate affairs director.

All join GSF’s existing leadership team of chief financial officer Sally Dowling, chief commercial officer Paula Huesca de Crean, chief strategy officer Sukhbir Kapoor, HR director Jo Warren, IT director Shaun Devey and e-commerce director Farhan Hussain. Bill Stimson and Adam White also join the team as head of chairman’s office and head of CEO’s office respectively.

Ahluwalia said: “I am delighted to be working alongside such an extraordinary leadership team. We have some of the aftermarket’s biggest juggernauts, all of whom have a proven track record for success, innovation and rapid growth, which are three objectives firmly on the agenda for GSF.

He added: “We can only achieve this by offering the best customer experience in the industry and that’s exactly what we’re committed to doing. I know the aftermarket inside out and the plans we have to invest, scale and develop the service we offer to customers are going to make GSF the partner of choice for garages, suppliers and the public.”

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