Kevin Howe was born in Stoke-on-Trent in the English midlands. He graduated in business studies from the University of Warwick. His first job was as a management apprentice with Michelin. He moved to General Electric in 1985 where he was information systems manager. He joined the former Rover group in 1988 and worked in a number of areas, including systems and logistics. He was made manufacturing director for small and medium cars in 1995 and managing director of the division in 1997. He was recruited by Rolls-Royce in 1999 and spent six months there before becoming CEO of MG Rover in May 2000.
CEO, MG Rover.
Managing director, Fan Systems Division, Rolls-Royce.
The Cotswolds (rural area of the English west midlands).
English, some French and German.
Married, two daughters age 8 and 14.
Countries lived in:
UK and Kenya.
First job in the car business:
A red Morris Marina that didn't go up hills very well.
What cars are parked in your garage now?
A Rover 75 station wagon, a Rover 25 Gti and a Land Rover Freelander.
What cars have you most admired?
The Lotus Europa, the Ferrari F355, the Subaru Impreza P1 and most recently the Morgan Aero 8.
What drives you?
Turning MG Rover into a success.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
I don't claim this for myself alone. I was part of a small team that launched the MGF and the Rover 200 and 400 within a six-month period. It was a major achievement but not one you'd like to repeat too often.
What has been the biggest crisis in your business life?
The possibility that Rover would close. Although I wasn't working here at the time, I was still emotionally connected to the company.
How do you relax?
Playing with my kids, doing things as a family, watching sport, cooking a little.
What are your hobbies?
I don't have time for hobbies. I used to play a lot of sport but now I've become a spectator.
Do you travel much?
I have restricted my travel since I took over at MG Rover because my priority has been to sort things out here.
What do you like to read?
Mainly books about food and drink - I'm interested in wine.
Is there anything you dislike about your job?
The fact that I have to spend so much time talking to the media and trying to convince them that we're going to make a success of MG Rover.
Where do you get your best ideas?
On my one-hour commute to and from the office. I can't write the ideas down because I'm driving so I usually phone them onto my secretary's answering machine.
Is there anything you'd like more of?
Time behind us as a company. Confidence grows with time but people need to see success before they will believe it. If we had more of a track record we wouldn't have to be spending so much time now convincing people that we're going to make it.
What non-automotive companies do you admire? General Electric for the way in which it constantly reinvents itself and for being excellent at what it does.
Who do you admire within the auto business?
Wolfgang Reitzle of Ford's Premier Automotive Group has a good eye for product. Also former Rover Chairman George Simpson. He was an excellent businessmen and a fine gentleman.
What are you good at?
Sport, helping people to sort out problems, getting things done.
Do you work weekends?
I try not to and I certainly try to keep the daytimes free for the family. But I often have to take calls from the press and deal with paperwork.
What's your favorite vacation location?
My family tells me it's Florida because the kids love Disney.
What is the next big thing in the auto business?
We will focus on issues of mobility as distinct from ownership. You could have a small car for city driving, a four-wheel drive for out of town and a convertible for holidays, all as part of an ownership package.