MILTON KEYNES, England - Richard Ide's grandfather tried, unsuccessfully, to sell a car to Edward VII, and his father ran various Vauxhall Bedford dealerships in the United Kingdom.
So it was little surprise that Ide embarked on a career in the motor industry.
Now, 45 years after starting as a 16-year-old apprentice at Vauxhall Motors Ltd., Ide will step down at the end of the year as managing director of Volkswagen Audi Group U.K. Ltd. Ide has one abiding memory of his auto career: racing MG sports cars between 1957 and 1961. 'My claim to fame was being placed in the Nurburgring 1,000-kilometer race when I was up against Stirling Moss and Jim Clark,' Ide recalls.
By age 30, he was managing director of a dealership. He later joined Lonrho Group, which imported Volkswagen and Audi cars.
During his 11 years at the helm of Volkswagen Auto Group U.K. Ltd., Ide saw plenty of change. Such changes included VW's takeover of its U.K. operations from Lonrho; the addition of the Skoda and Seat brands to the sales mix; and the establishment of Audi and VW commercial vehicles as businesses in their own right.
He will be succeeded by Robin Woolcock, 52, head of Volkswagen brand sales in the U.K.
Woolcock joined the group in 1989. He headed Skoda operations in Britain before taking over the Volkswagen brand in 1994.