CIRENCESTER, England - Paul Williams, the 38-year-old former managing director of Daihatsu Motor U.K. Ltd., has been snapped up by Mitsubishi Motors as director of sales and marketing in Britain.
Just two months ago, Williams transferred to Austria as vice president of Daihatsu's distribution business there, a 50-50 joint venture with Sumitomo Ltd.
Williams joined Daihatsu U.K. in 1991 and was named managing director in 1995. His apparent demotion to the Austrian post this summer surprised many in the industry because he doubled Daihatsu's sales to 12,000 units in the three years he spent in the top post.
Daihatsu U.K. is a joint venture between Inchcape PLC, which has a 51 percent stake, and Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. of Japan.
He is the first director to be appointed at Mitsubishi since Denis Murphy took over as acting managing director in March.
His new job at headquarters here combines the roles of both former marketing director Colin Peirce and sales director Andrew Wenzel, two high-profile casualties of Murphy's restructuring of Colt Cars, the Mitsubishi importer in Britain.
'Following the complete reorganization of the company over the last few months, my first aim is to fully integrate the sales and marketing operations,' said Williams.
The gregarious Williams, who began his motor industry career 17 years ago with Peugeot-Talbot before moving to Nissan and then Mercedes-Benz, is no stranger to the limelight.
In the mid-1970s, he fronted a school punk band called the Rampant Nasties which, he recalled, 'was as bad as the name suggests.'
He sang and played the guitar - 'not very well,' he concedes.
At college in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, he progressed to a band called All Over the Carpet, which was a mix of pop and rock and included a saxophonist. It afforded him a slightly better lifestyle than the average student, he recalls.