Kevin headed UK operations for Porsche and BMW, before launching a software business, heading a fintech operation, and taking over the helm at a luxury boatbuilder. He has also walked to both Poles with Alan Chambers and climbed the highest peaks in the world. Kevin sets out simple rules: have a dream, define your purpose, write the plan, apply it with consistency and allow yourself to become obsessed with winning. He sees the leader’s job as creating more leaders.
Kevin Gaskell has led and turned around businesses large and small and in sectors from automotive to technology, financial to garden centres. He’s headed both Porsche’s and BMW’s UK operations, founded and led online startups, and taken his never-give-up attitude to extreme climates.
After qualifying as a civil engineer and accountant, Kevin worked in the construction and chemical industries before taking over Porsche’s UK operation as MD at just 32 years of age. The company was in the doldrums with dealers returning contracts and a backlog of unsold stock. In five years he turned it in to the most profitable car company in the country. He then moved to BMW, where he grew sales by 80%, before founding a pioneering online car dealership business. When the new business relocated to the US, Kevin and his team created an ecommerce solutions platform for the fleet car sector.
Kevin continued to work on businesses involved in automotive sector data and systems, and also supply chain. He’s also led the turnaround of a South African online payment company and helped build an acclaimed local garden centre.
When luxury yacht builder Fairline had run up 10 years of losses, the company’s bank brought Kevin in to rescue it. He quickly devised a plan that overhauled everything from bonuses in the workshop to marketing, management and design bringing acclaim from employees and customers.
As well as his extensive business operations, Kevin is a keen adventurer, regularly jumping from planes, climbing mountains and trekking hostile climes (he’s raised the money to build a cancer treatment centre at the same time). He often refers to these trials of physical and mental endurance when addressing business challenges.
Kevin asks organisations to consider not what they think is possible, but what they really want to achieve. Only by moving past the (often self-imposed) limits can groups achieve real success. His infectious enthusiasm combines with real-world, practical business experience. When others say something can’t be done, he asks why. He believes that any goal can be achieved by the people who already know the business given a clarity of vision and purpose, and the freedom to realise their brilliance.
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