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Harwoods welcomes ex-Volvo MD Jon Wakefield as CEO and targets tech ‘revolution’

Harwoods Group has appointed former Volvo Car UK managing director Jon Wakefield as chief executive as it prepares for a 2023 transformation that will “revolutionise the automotive industry”.

Former CEO Archie Harwood moves into the newly-created role of chief transformation officer as part of the changes, which also see former Benfield Motors CEO and National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) chairman Mark Squires join the business as a non-executive director alongside banking and financial market expert William Fall.

A statement issued to AM by the AM100’s 30th-placed car retail group by turnover said the leadership restructure marked the start of an “ambitious growth strategy”.

The 92-year-old car retail group which launched an all-new CRM powered by Salesforce along with an integrated e-commerce enabled site in 2022.

Harwood, who led that project, said: “With the appointment of our new CEO and non-executive directors, 2023 is off to an exciting start already for the Harwoods Group, and I look forward to stepping into my new role as chief transformation officer.

“Having been CEO for the past four years, I was at the helm of our major digital overhaul and my new role will allow me to remain focused on our new digital initiatives and their planned roll-out.

“Right now, we are working on a digital product set to revolutionise the automotive industry, and Jon’s appointment enables me to maintain my core focus on this as the group expands.”

He added: “I believe our collaborative approach will allow us to drive growth and improve effectiveness across Harwoods as we move into what is potentially going to be a challenging year ahead for the automotive industry.”

An Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Ineos, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), McLaren and Volvo franchisee, Harwoods is aiming to transform its new and used car sales both on and offline alongside plans to scale and grow the business, it said.

Wakefield, who left his role with Volvo Car UK in 2019 to become MD of Volvo in Sweden, brings more than two decades of leadership experience in retail and manufacturing to the Harwoods business.

Commenting on his new appointment Wakefield said: “I am delighted to be joining Harwoods at this exciting time. The brand has an impressive set of core values which place its customers first and share many synergies with the brands I have previously worked for.

“I look forward to working side-by-side with Archie and the Harwoods team to continue its exciting transformation and help them grow and develop their brand in my new role.”

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