Stay connected to the latest news and information from Zenith.

Autumn Budget 2017 – what does it mean for you?

Commenting on the budget Claire Evans, head of fleet consultancy at Zenith said: 

“The Chancellor claimed this budget aimed to help Britain embrace change, meet its challenges head on and seize opportunities. It set out to support innovation and encourage research and development by firms with new funding and tax breaks for companies through tax credits and investment incentives. 

“The fleet sector called for clear guidance on a range of issues, and it is good to see some clarification from the Chancellor that will help our industry plan with more confidence. There is a clear direction of travel from the government with more support for the adoption of cleaner engine technology and electric vehicles with taxation only impacting less efficient diesels. 

“The anticipated rise in diesel taxes arrived with the announcement that from April 2018 VED rates for new diesel cars will rise by one band. It means an Audi A3 in 101-110 band will incur an increase of 42p a month over a typical four-year term. 

“Funds raised by VED changes will support a £220m Clean Air Fund for local clean air plans. 

“The diesel BiK supplement will increase by 1% from April 2018. In news that will encourage manufacturers to continue to advance cleaner diesel engines, the diesel supplement will be removed entirely for vehicles that meet the Real Driving Emissions step 2 standard (RDE2) bringing it in-line with the petrol equivalent. It is disappointing news for drivers in existing diesel cars who will be subject to the rise and not given time to move into cleaner technology.

“The move will encourage fleet providers into the cleanest diesel engines alongside petrol and ULEV vehicles in the long-term. And give fleets more clarity to enable better planning on policy choices. 

“The planned fuel duty rise was scrapped, making it the most prolonged period the duty has been frozen in 40 years. VED for HGV and the road user levy were also frozen in a welcome move for the sector. 

“The chancellor unveiled extra funds and tax incentives for electric car drivers. It included a new £400m charging infrastructure fund, an additional £100m in plug-in car grant, and £40m for research into charging. And drivers who charge their vehicles at work will not be taxed as a Benefit-in-Kind.”

New appointment for Zenith

Zenith, the UK’s leading independent leasing, vehicle outsourcing and fleet management provider, announces the appointment of Martin Jenkins as group business development and strategy director with effect from 1 January 2018. Martin joins Zenith from professional services firm Deloitte where he has been for 28 years including 16 years as a partner. For the past 7 years he has been the Practice Senior Partner responsible for Deloitte's highly regarded 700 strong practice in Yorkshire and the North East.

Tim Buchan, chief executive officer of Zenith, commented:

“Martin is a highly experienced corporate financier and business advisor and is well known to Zenith. In addition to the automotive and leasing industry, his experience covers a wide range of sectors including consumer business, manufacturing, distribution and business services with a focus on senior level C-suite relationships. He has a strong track record of success both in his client work and in the senior leadership positions he has held at Deloitte.”

Martin Jenkins commented: 

“The automotive, leasing and fleet management sectors are entering a period of significant change that will provide opportunities for innovative, agile and customer orientated businesses like Zenith. I'm thrilled to be joining Zenith at this exciting time of change both in the industry and for the business with the imminent move to its new offices at Kirkstall Forge. I'm extremely grateful for the support I have had over the years from my colleagues at Deloitte and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Zenith recognised as one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.

Zenith was the highest rated fleet company in the annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 round up of the UK’s most successful mid-sized private companies.

In the prestigious table featuring a large number of car retail groups, Zenith ranked at 42.

Zenith recently completed its sixth MBO in 28 years. The investment by Bridgepoint supported the acquisition of CVL, which expands the company’s operations into the HGV market. 

Commenting on the recognition, Tim Buchan chief executive of Zenith said: “The team works incredibly hard to provide industry-leading levels of customer service. And it’s a focus on the customer that continues to drive our growth. It is proving to be a landmark year for everyone at Zenith with the acquisition of CVL and move to our new headquarters in Leeds.”  

Zenith recently announced the appointment of Lord Rose as its chairman. Lord Rose has over 40 years’ experience in the consumer and retail sectors during which time he served as Chief Executive at Argos plc, Booker plc, Arcadia Group plc and Marks and Spencer plc. 

He was Chairman of Marks and Spencer plc from 2008 to 2011. He was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility and granted a life peerage in August 2014.

Between them the Top Track 250 generated combined sales of £62.4bn, the equivalent of 3.2% of GDP, according to The Times, employing 380,000 people across the UK.

Zenith appoints Lord Rose as chairman

Zenith, the leading specialist independent UK leasing and fleet management provider to some of the largest companies in the country, has appointed Lord Rose as its chairman.

Lord Rose has over 40 years’ experience in the consumer and retail sectors during which time he served as Chief Executive at Argos plc, Booker plc, Arcadia Group plc and Marks and Spencer plc. He was Chairman of Marks and Spencer plc from 2008 to 2011. He was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility, and granted a life peerage in August 2014.

Amongst his current business interests, he is chairman of Ocado, the online supermarket and of active lifestyle retailer Fat Face. He is also a non-executive director of Woolworths Holdings in South Africa.  He is also a member of Bridgepoint’s Advisory Board.

Welcoming Lord Rose to the Board, Tim Buchan, chief executive officer of Zenith, said: “I'm delighted that Stuart is joining Zenith as our chairman. He's had a fantastic business career and has unparalleled experience in understanding the consumer, all of which will be important to the future development of our company.”
Lord Rose said: “I am impressed by Zenith’s growth story: the UK fleet services market is a large, growing and resilient market so we will all have even more to go for. I very much look forward to working with the team."

Established in 1989 and headquartered in Leeds, Zenith focuses on both the corporate car and consumer markets with services that range from funding company cars or commercial vehicles and providing flexible employee benefit schemes to delivering fully outsourced fleet management services.  It also provides 'white label' back office fleet management systems and services to vehicle manufacturers and financial services businesses.

Zenith was acquired in 2017 by the European private equity group Bridgepoint in a transaction totalling £750 million. 

Royal recognition for Zenith Vehicle Contracts

Zenith has won recognition from HRH Princess Royal for putting its employees first. 

Zenith joins major UK businesses including RBS, Barclays, and Waitrose in being commended for their commitment to training and skills development.
The Princess Royal Training Award from the City & Guilds Group recognises businesses that create a lasting impact by successfully linking their skills development needs to business performance. 

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at St James’s Palace this autumn.

Commenting on the achievement Marisa Waddington, HR director at Zenith, said: “Our people are essential to the success of Zenith and delivering the customer centred culture that fuels our growth. It is great to join such highly-respected companies and receive this recognition.”  
The Princess Royal Training Awards were delivered for the first-time last year by the City & Guilds Group. Each applicant was assessed against three Hallmarks of Excellence by the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, which comprised of HRH The Princess Royal and seven leading figures in the business and training community.
Commenting on this year’s recipients, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said: ‘From household brands to leading charities, employers of all sizes across the UK are seeing real and tangible benefits of training and developing their people. The Princess Royal Training Awards provide both recognition and the opportunity to share best practice and its impact. I congratulate the 40 successful organisations who presented their evidence and achieved the standard required by the Award in 2017. They are worthy recipients of this prestigious and rigorous royal award, and we are delighted to be able to deliver it through the City & Guilds Group.’

Zenith moves to address the automotive skills shortage

In a record year for its apprenticeship scheme Zenith Vehicle Contracts has hired 100% of its interns into permanent roles as the business moves to address the automotive industry’s skills shortage.

The SMMT has warned more than 50,000 skilled jobs in the motor industry must be created to stop Britain 'falling off a cliff edge' after Brexit and faces a skills crisis with 5,000 unfilled vacancies by 2020.

As the UK’s largest independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business Zenith has grown from eight employees at launch to over 650 today.

It launched the long running apprentice programme to ensure a pipeline of talent for the company. It works with schools and colleges to inspire students into a career in the fleet industry.

Marisa Waddington, HR director at Zenith, said: “Our apprenticeship programme aims to educate and inspire young people to support them into the fleet industry. Apprentices also take part in group work, away from the desk, to develop skills in line with company values. We set out with a target of retaining all of our apprentices, which after our first eight months, we are proud to have achieved.”

Zenith is shortlisted as a regional finalist in this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards. The awards recognise excellent businesses that grow their own talent and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Zenith designed the programme as a partnership between its current workforce and new apprentices, supporting both parties as they come together. It supports the development of the individual in completing their apprenticeship and developing awareness of the programme with the wider business and local community.

Charities benefit from Zenith three peaks challenge

A team of 60 from Zenith Vehicle Contracts raised over £4,000 when they tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.

The gruelling 26-mile walk in poor conditions saw the team climb three peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, in just 12 hours.

Commenting on the challenge, Marisa Waddington, HR director at Zenith said: “This is by far the largest group we have had taking part and proved a great team building event. We are delighted with the amount raised for three worthwhile causes.”

The team, from Zenith’s three offices in Leeds, Crowthorne and Solihull, raised funds for CLIC Sargent, the Stroke Association and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Zenith employs over 500 people, and it is the UK’s leading independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business.

Last year Zenith employees raised over £17,500 for a range of charities.

Leeds set for jobs boost

Zenith Vehicle Contracts will recruit over 85 people this year as the company continues to expand.

The career opportunities will range from customer service to digital and sales. The company is the fastest growing independent vehicle leasing company in the UK.

Zenith is working with schools across the city to raise the profile of a career in the automotive sector and promote its apprenticeship scheme.

Earlier this year Zenith acquired Contract Vehicle Holdings (CVL), which took the total number of vehicles under management to more than 100,000. The move followed private equity group Bridgepoint’s £750m acquisition of Zenith.

Zenith recently announced it is moving to new, purpose-built headquarters in Leeds. The new 65,000 sq ft offices will enhance the company’s environmental credentials. The building is designed to a BREEAM excellent rating and is working toward a low or zero carbon rating. Solar panels are installed on the roof and an innovative energy strategy used.

The new space is over the top four floors of the development and includes spectacular roof level meeting rooms. It will also feature running and cycle routes to help employees stay fit and encourage more car-free journeys.

Commenting on the growth Marisa Waddington, HR director said: “Zenith is undergoing a sustained period of growth and is looking for the best talent to join the business. We have been named in the Top 100 of The Sunday Times Best Companies to work for in the UK for the last four years. Creating a great culture and work environment is central to our business.”

The offices have attracted recognition with a host of awards including ‘Game Changer of the Year’ and ‘Deal of the Year’ at the Yorkshire Property Awards.

Car Share inspires Zenith employees to a greener commute

Peter Kay and the award-winning TV show Car Share has inspired employees at Zenith Vehicle Contracts to a greener commute.

Zenith has seen participation in its new car sharing scheme soar following the popularity of the TV series with over 240 staff signing up since launch.

68% of its employees at its headquarters in Leeds have signed up to the initiative. Car sharers are already taking 56,000 miles off of the roads in their local area every year, that's over twice the miles it would take to drive around the entire Earth. £7,000 will be saved in fuel costs and the environment benefits from a saving of 10 tonnes of CO2.

Commenting on the scheme Marisa Waddington, HR director at Zenith said: “It’s great timing that Peter Kay’s new series has coincided with the launch of our car sharing scheme. Feedback from employees is great with people saving money and making new friends.”

Zenith also supports cycle to work schemes and helps employees keep fit with a range of fitness activities and clubs available at the office.

The company recently announced it is moving to new, purpose-built headquarters in Leeds at the Kirkstall Forge development. The new 45,000 sq ft offices will enhance the company’s environmental credentials. The building is designed to a BREEAM excellent rating and is working toward a low or zero carbon rating. Solar panels are installed on the roof and an innovative energy strategy used.

Zenith goes green with new headquarters

Zenith Vehicle Contracts aims to lead the industry with its new low carbon headquarters.

The new 45,000 sq ft offices will enhance the company’s environmental credentials. The building is designed to a BREEAM excellent rating and is working toward a low or zero carbon rating. Solar panels are installed on the roof and an innovative energy strategy used.

The new space is over the top three floors of the development and includes spectacular roof level meeting rooms. It will also feature running and cycle routes to help employees stay fit and encourage more car-free journeys.

The offices have attracted recognition with a host of awards including ‘Game Changer of the Year’ and ‘Deal of the Year’ at the Yorkshire Property Awards.

Zenith, the UK’s leading independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business, will see the Kirkstall Forge site in Leeds become its new headquarters.

The developer, CEG, has also announced it will relocate its northern office to the prestigious development. CEG is running the development of the 57 acres Kirkstall Forge scheme which is set to become home to a thriving mixed-use community in a unique wooded, riverside setting. Ultimately it will comprise of 1,050 new homes, 300,000 sq ft of offices and 100,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and community space.

Tim Buchan, chief executive officer from Zenith, said: “The Forge is another milestone in Zenith’s history and its location presents an opportunity to draw on the highly talented resources from within the North of England and establish a best-in-class headquarters for our future growth and innovation.”

Recognition for Zenith management team

The management team of Zenith Vehicle Contracts has received recognition in the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) Management Team Awards.

Now in their ninth year, the BVCA Management Team Awards recognise leading businesses that are backed by UK private equity and venture capital investors.

Zenith recently completed its sixth MBO in 28 years. The investment by Bridgepoint supported the acquisition of CVL, which expands the company’s operations into the HGV market.

Commenting on the award, Tim Buchan chief executive of Zenith said: “The team has worked tirelessly to create a customer-focused culture that continues to drive both growth and innovation. It’s great to see the company’s efforts recognised by an experienced team of judges.”

Zenith won the ‘Large Company Management Team’ category for the Yorkshire & North East and will now go to a national final on 30 November.

Peter Armitage, chair of the Yorkshire & North East judging panel and founding partner of Key Capital Partners LLP: “2016 was another exceptional year for UK investment, particularly in our region. The BVCA Management Team Awards showcase some of the teams contributing to the country’s most successful companies and recognise the excellence that private equity and venture capital supports. Congratulations to our winners this evening, and good luck to them in the national final.”

Zenith inspires next generation

A team from Zenith has visited a Leeds school to inspire young people to pursue a career in the automotive industry.

Zenith visited the Crawshaw Academy school careers fair in Pudsey and talked to students from a range of years about the opportunities available in the industry.

Commenting on the initiative Marisa Waddington, hr director at Zenith said: “The contract hire and leasing sector has a wide range of careers available from customer service to finance and marketing. As we continue to grow and thrive in Leeds, we want to inspire the next generation of talent. We ask our apprentices to think about career aspirations and think differently. Our apprenticeship programme is very interactive, involving not just on the job training but also social activities.”

The school visit formed part of a week of activities to support National Apprenticeship Week. Zenith also exhibited at the Leeds Apprenticeship Recruitment Fair and offered current apprentices the chance to be a director for the day.

National Recognition for Zenith Vehicle Contracts

Zenith has achieved national recognition in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For, for the fourth year running.

Zenith is the UK’s leading independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business. It offers its 500+ employees a range of flexible benefits from private medical insurance and access to a financial advisor, to free massages.

The annual survey ranks the cream of Britain’s employers and is recognised as the gold standard in measuring employee engagement.

The result comes after extensive data-gathering and analysis. Assessors review staff opinions about their bosses, working conditions and employer’s values.

Commenting on the result, Marisa Waddington, HR director at Zenith said: This is the fourth year we’ve achieved a top 100 ranking in the survey and it’s a great reward for the hard work of our team. We recognise that our people are key to the continued high performance of the business, and invest time and money to ensure we can offer a great place to work.

Zenith is a Best Companies two star outstanding company and has ranked in position 90 in the awards.

Zenith is set to move to a new state-of-the-art headquarters in Leeds. The environmentally sustainable office will be set over 45,000 sq ft and includes dedicated areas for employee relaxation and collaboration.

Zenith comment on Spring Budget 2017

Claire Evans, head of fleet consultancy at Zenith said: “Dubbed the Brexit budget by commentators, the Chancellor made some headline-grabbing announcements to push disruptive technologies and enhance productivity.

“For the fleet industry this was a budget of stability, which will be welcome news after many recent changes. It was disappointing not to see company car tax rates for 2021 published. As part of the air quality agenda, the government said it will explore the taxation of diesel vehicles ahead of potential changes. We can expect an announcement on both points in the Autumn Budget.

“Following the consultation to review taxation policy to align it to IFRS 16 lease accounting changes the decision has been made to keep with current position.

“There are calls for evidence expected on 20 March on expenses and BiKs that will need to be monitored for any impact.

“We saw £270 million allocated to keep the UK at the forefront of disruptive technologies that will include funding for the development, design and manufacture of batteries to power the next generation of electric vehicles. Increased range on new battery technology will speed their adoption by fleets.

“Research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), found that 51% of motorists would be more likely to buy an electric car for their low running costs, while 46% said that cheap or zero car tax would influence their decision.

“The £16 million made available for a new 5G mobile technology hub will also support the move toward driverless vehicles. A £690 million competition for local authorities to tackle urban congestion and get local transport networks moving again is a welcome addition. 

“Finally, we saw vehicle excise duty frozen for hauliers, and HGV road user levy is frozen too.”

Following its £750m acquisition of Zenith, Bridgepoint makes further add-on acquisition of CVL to extend Zenith's reach into the adjacent HGV market

Zenith announced today that its new owner Bridgepoint has acquired Contract Vehicles Holdings Limited group (CVL) from its shareholders, as Zenith builds the UK's only independent one-stop-shop, HGV to car mobility provider. 

CVL is a highly regarded provider of commercial vehicle contract hire and fleet management solutions specialising in the HGV market, which manages over 20,000 vehicles.

With over 20 years of experience, CVL prides itself on offering a fully managed solution to its clients and is responsible for the management of some of the world's largest companies' commercial vehicle fleets. Based in Leeds, CVL provides contract hire, fleet management and leasing services and has most recently added sophisticated telematics to their portfolio of services.

CVL's consultative approach ensures they are always focused on their clients' needs, offering a bespoke solution which combines flexibility with the benefit of their in depth industry knowledge with the aim of delivering reduced costs and efficient operating processes to their customers.

Tim Buchan, Zenith's chief executive officer commented: "We are delighted to announce this acquisition as we expand our total mobility provision. The combined organisation will deliver a truly unique proposition for car, van and HGV operators in the UK. CVL will operate as a standalone business, but will benefit from Zenith's core infrastructure and funding."

Bridgepoint's Emma Watford said: "CVL has an excellent technology platform and shares Zenith's customer-centric culture. The acquisition is complementary and is one of the building blocks we identified when we acquired Zenith to allow the company to open up new markets and extend its offer in the UK and Europe."

Doug Smith, CVL's chief executive officer said: "This is an exciting development for CVL, its customers, employees and suppliers. The Zenith and CVL values and approach to customer service are strongly aligned and Zenith's scale and funding capacity will enhance CVL's ability to deliver exceptional service to its customers."

Zenith and Bridgepoint were advised by Squire Patton Boggs (Legal), White & Case (Legal), KPMG (Financial Due Diligence and Tax), Weil (Legal), Henderson (Insurance) and ERM (ESG). CVL and its shareholders were advised by Deloitte (Corporate Finance and Financial Due Diligence), DLA Piper (Legal), Mazars (Tax) and OC&C (Commercial Due Diligence).

Note - the Zenith and Bridgepoint transaction remains subject to regulatory approval.

New equity partner for Zenith

Zenith announced today that funds managed by Bridgepoint have signed definitive agreements to acquire a majority shareholding in Zenith from HgCapital, subject to regulatory approvals.

The highly regarded contract hire and leasing company was recently ranked 7th in the FN50 list of the UK’s top 50 contract hire companies and manages 85,000 vehicles.  Tim Buchan, chief executive officer commented: 

"We thank HgCapital for their contribution and are pleased to welcome Bridgepoint as our new partner. We look forward to working together on our long-term strategy of continued investment in new markets, digital transformation, alternative vehicle asset classes, value proposition and platform developments." 

Mark Phillips, chief financial officer commented “Through the support of private equity and our banking partners, Zenith has been able to grow and Bridgepoint’s new investment will support the management team to continue to build Zenith, open up new markets and extend the value proposition both in the UK and Europe”.

Bridgepoint’s Emma Watford said: “Zenith is already best-in-class with a proven business model that has had an unbroken track record of growth over a long period. It benefits from an exceptional management team and, with them, we believe that the business can continue its impressive growth trajectory through its continued focus on customer service, technology and targeted acquisition activity.”

HgCapital’s Andrew Land said: “We have had a very successful partnership with the Zenith management team and are proud to have been part of the Company’s success.  The business model has been a great fit with Hg’s investment strategy, providing mission-critical services to customers through long-term relationships and the use of proprietary technology.  We have no doubt that Tim, Mark and the rest of the team will have continued success working with Bridgepoint.” 

The Zenith board continues to be led by Tim Buchan and Mark Phillips plus representatives of Bridgepoint alongside the existing management team. 

The company was advised by Evercore, Deloitte, Squire Patton Boggs, KPMG, OC&C, Weil and Sidley Austin.


Zenith welcomes Chancellor's announcement on salary sacrifice

Zenith, the UK’s leading provider of salary sacrifice cars to UK businesses, welcomes the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s decision to give the green light to salary sacrifice schemes during his Autumn Statement on Wednesday 23 November.

Zenith was extremely pleased to hear that Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs – vehicles with CO2 emissions of 75g/km or below) will continue to benefit from the maximum savings of income tax and employer’s class 1A NI contributions. The confirmation that all drivers currently in salary sacrifice cars are protected from the future changes was also an extremely positive result of the consultation.

Zenith’s CEO Tim Buchan says of the announcement: “We welcome the Chancellor’s decision that salary sacrifice schemes can continue to be utilised as an important employee benefit. This news finally removes any uncertainty and allows us to continue to offer affordable cars to all of our customers’ employees.”

He continues: “We are confident now that with this mature tax structure in place, the market will continue to grow. The government’s stamp of approval provides a significant opportunity for us to introduce this benefit to new employee populations. Salary sacrifice for cars will continue to deliver for employees due to its convenience, ease of use, no credit checks or upfront payments and the value for money it provides for drivers. ”

Zenith also welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement on the future of company car tax. Matthew Thompson, CCO at Zenith explains: “We were pleased to hear the Chancellor’s announcement on company car tax changes, which incentivises ultra-low emitting vehicles from 2020 and halts the short-term tax increases on the most efficient cars. We continue to see an astonishing pace of change in ULEV availability and the increase of in-life advantages such as parking incentives. With all this rapid development, now is a great time for employees to consider embracing this new technology and the advantages it will bring in the future.”

He continues: “We believe that in allowing ULEVs to benefit from the maximum tax savings through salary sacrifice, the government has paved the way for manufacturers to continue to make these vehicles more affordable for the average driver. Through the entire Autumn Statement it was clear that the government sees the future of transport being in greener technologies and as a business, Zenith embraces that decision. We are now looking forward to advising our drivers on how they can choose the most cost-efficient option for their individual circumstances, under the new rules.”

Zenith launches apprenticeship scheme

Zenith has launched a new apprenticeship scheme to expand its talent base and commit to a significant investment in young people.

The scheme, which launched in September, runs for twelve months in the IT, operations, account management and finance departments of the business. The apprenticeship scheme at Zenith includes typical on the job training as well as putting a focus on personal development and getting prepared for the world of work. Some of the activities that the group have taken part in so far include: supplier visits, group project work, and team building activities in and out of the office.

Marisa Waddington, HR director at Zenith said of the scheme: “We are delighted to expand our apprenticeship programme and have been impressed with the calibre and commitment of our new apprentices.  Apprenticeships provide an excellent platform for young people to start their career with us. 

Tom Cullearn, an apprentice in the operations department is enjoying the development opportunities of the scheme: “My apprenticeship has been a good stepping stone into the working environment and has allowed me to gain experience and qualifications for my future job prospects.”

In 2017 we will be moving our head office location to the prestigious Kirkstall Forge development and we are keen to ensure that we attract more school leavers due to the fantastic transport networks that the Forge provides. We will be increasing our apprenticeship places when we move to Kirkstall Forge. All of our apprentices are working towards permanent roles within the business with continued investment in training and support.

Zenith is highly commended for its dedication to customer service

Zenith has been recognised for its dedication to customer service at the prestigious 2016 Fleet News Awards by being granted ‘highly commended’ status for the Customer Service Award.

This is the second year in a row that Zenith has been acknowledged for its fantastic customer service at the Fleet News Awards after winning the award in 2015.

Zenith was named as highly commended thanks to its dedication to investing in technology that supports the business to deliver a personal and knowledgeable experience for customers.

Tim Buchan, chief executive officer at Zenith said of the award: “At Zenith we are continually striving to understand the wants and needs of our customers and we understand that getting this right is crucial to our success. That’s why we put our customers at the heart of everything we do, from new system development right through to our colleague training.”

He continues: “Being recognised by Fleet News again for our customer service levels is a fantastic achievement. As a business we work hard on our customer experience strategy and it’s great to see that we have been able to maintain and build upon our personal, friendly and knowledgeable approach to customer service over the last 12 months.”

Zenith was also shortlisted for the Leasing Company of the Year Award.

Zenith announces head office move

Zenith, the UK’s leading independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business, has signed a significant pre-let deal to become the first company to occupy a new flagship headquarter office building at Kirkstall Forge in Leeds. Developer, CEG, has also announced it will relocate its northern office to the prestigious development.

CEG is running the development of the 57 acre Kirkstall Forge scheme which is set to become home to a thriving mixed-use community in a unique wooded, riverside setting. Ultimately it will comprise of 1,050 new homes, 300,000 sq ft of offices and 100,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and community space.

These two key deals have been signed this week, at the same time as the principle contractor Wates breaks ground to deliver the first phase; an 110,000 ft², seven-storey Grade A office building, which will be ready for occupation in the third quarter of 2017.

The building received unanimous planning approval from Leeds City Council last year, with members commending the design of this exemplar development and the overall vision for the site.

Zenith will take more than 45,000 sq ft net over the three upper floors, including a spectacular roof level meeting room suite.

Tim Buchan, chief executive officer from Zenith said: “The Forge is another milestone in Zenith’s history and its location presents an opportunity to draw on the highly talented resources from within the North of England and establish a best-in-class headquarters for our future growth and innovation.”

CEG has announced it will occupy almost 10,000 sq ft on the ground floor, with the balance of the ground floor and three remaining floors of circa 18,500 sq ft each are to be made available to the market.

Jon Kenny, director of CEG, said: “It is momentous to have secured a pre-let on this brand new speculative development. Securing two tenants and delivering key infrastructure, including the first new railway station in Leeds for decades, prior to starting development is testament to the strength of the Leeds market and this site.

“Kirkstall Forge is unique, it will deliver fresh, sustainable new ways of living and working amongst acres of green space in a wooded riverside setting. With schools, contemporary housing, restaurants, cafés and light-filled offices, it will provide the vibrancy of city life as well as the tranquillity of the outdoors.

“Ultimately, this will not only be an ambitious and innovative development for Leeds, but will establish a new benchmark for office developments across the rest of the UK.”

Zenith named as one of the best companies to work for

Zenith, the UK’s leading independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business, has been named as one of ‘The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for’ after its employees took part in an independent workplace survey.

Ranking 65th, this is the third year in a row that Zenith has been included in the list. As well as making it into The Sunday Times listing, Zenith has also achieved a Best Companies two star accreditation for outstanding employee engagement.

To celebrate, Zenith is hosting an afternoon of coffee, tea and cupcakes for colleagues across all three of its locations in Leeds, Crowthorne and Solihull on Best Companies Day (Friday 26 February).

Zenith has participated in the Best Companies surveys since 2011 and engagement has continued to build each year. In 2014 the company achieved a two star accreditation and appeared in The Sunday Times list for the first time.

Marisa Waddington, human resources director at Zenith, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to be in the top 100 best companies list for the third year running. The happiness and wellbeing of our colleagues is extremely important to us and it is fantastic to see that it shines through in our engagement surveys. We are constantly listening to our colleagues and looking for new ways to ensure that we keep providing satisfying and rewarding careers. We are looking forward to celebrating our position as a whole company on Friday and on continuing to build our engagement levels as we embark on an exciting period of time for our business.”

Budget 2016 – what does it mean for you?

Today (Wednesday 16th March) the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered the government Budget for 2016. Key themes were around putting the “next generation first” to “make Britain fit for the future” with a focus on stability and long-term solutions.

For people in charge of company cars and salary sacrifice benefits, a few announcements were made that will have an impact on fleets.

Below our head of consultancy Claire Evans provides a round-up of the Chancellor’s key announcements and talks about how they will impact the motoring industry.

General tax rates

What was announced? 
  • The main rate of corporation tax will reduce to 17% in 2020, following a planned cut to 19% in 2017
  • Insurance premium tax (IPT) increased by 0.5% to 10% to raise funding for flood defence and resilience 
  • Personal tax allowance has increased from £11,000 in 2016/17 to £11,500 in 2017/18 and the higher rate tax threshold will increase by £2,000 to £45,000 over the same period

What does it mean for you?

Changes to personal tax will see more drivers paying company car tax at a lower rate; however a further rise in IPT will add £2 annually on average to motor insurance premiums.

Motoring taxes

What was announced? 
  • The Chancellor announced a further freeze on fuel duty, this is the sixth year in a row that fuel duty has been frozen 
  • The government has extended the 100% first year allowance for businesses purchasing ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) by three years to April 2021. However, the threshold for qualifying cars has reduced from 75g/km to 50g/km CO2 emissions, from April 2018 
  • The main threshold for capital allowances for cars has reduced from 130g/km to 110g/km , from April 2018

What does it mean for you?

The fuel duty freeze is welcome news for fleets and will equate to typical savings of £12 for van drivers each time they fill their tank compared with the plans in place before 2010. It is good news that the government recognises that transport is a major element in the cost base of many businesses and understands the link between low fuel prices and economic growth.

The changes to capital allowances will result in increases to costs of cars that are between 111g/km and 130g/km CO2 emissions. As a result, this may incentivise fleets to review CO2 caps and encourage drivers into cars that are below 111g/km. In addition where fleets purchase their vehicles there will be increases to costs of cars with emissions between 51g/km and 75g/km.

Salary sacrifice

What was announced?

  • The government continues to monitor the growth of salary sacrifice schemes including cars. This is due to requests for clearance to HMRC rising by over 30% since 2010
What does it mean for you?

As a salary sacrifice provider, we continue to form part of the discussion with government on this matter and are committed to keeping our customers aware of potential future changes.

Low-emission vehicles

What was announced? 
  • A consultation to reform company car tax bands for ULEV will commence with a view to refocus incentives on the cleanest cars beyond 2020/21 
  • The UK will become a global centre of excellence in developing connected and autonomous vehicles. Activities include trials of driverless cars by 2017, a connected corridor from London to Dover where vehicles can communicate wirelessly and trials of comparative fuel price signs on sections of the M5 by Spring 2016. This is supported by the government’s aim for the UK to adopt a 5G strategy by 2017 

What does it mean for you? 

Further announcements on company car tax reform for ULEVs are welcomed with the hope that this will provide fleets with opportunities to gain cost advantages from utilising these vehicles.

Investment and infrastructure

What was announced? 

£61 billion investment in transport over this Parliament including £236m investment to improve road links across the North (M62, A66, A69) 

Improvements to rail networks with the green light being given for Cross Rail 2 in London and High Speed 3 between Leeds and Manchester 

  • A £50m Pothole Action fund for England enabling local authorities to fill nearly one million potholes
  • £130m investment towards repairing roads and bridges that have been damaged in recent storms 
  • The Severn Crossing tolls will be halved from 2018 

What does it mean for you? 

Continued commitment to improving our road and rail networks will help to keep fleets mobile and reduce journey times. A cut to the Severn Crossing toll is great news for businesses operating in Wales and the South West. 

Other useful information 

  • As a direct result from recommendations, the government is introducing a tougher regime to clamp down on rogue claims management companies (CMCs) that provide bad service and nuisance calls to those involved in vehicle accidents including action to cap amounts that CMCs charge 
  • After reviewing the rules around travel and subsistence the government has concluded that the current rules are well understood and work effectively for the majority of employees and therefore there will be no changes made at this time

Zenith launches ‘Accelerate’ platform to further improve service to drivers

Zenith, the UK’s leading independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business, has launched a new customer services platform called ‘Accelerate’ that promises to improve efficiency and better serve its customers and drivers.

‘Accelerate’ gives Zenith colleague’s full visibility of all inbound contacts made by their drivers on a customer-by-customer basis, providing the teams with the ability to share, track and progress customer queries consistently across all locations.

Dominic Moran Zenith’s corporate commercial director explains in more detail: “We initially started developing ‘Accelerate’ to provide colleagues with a tool that enabled them to work more efficiently across our three locations as we were integrating the Zenith and Leasedrive businesses.

He continued: Once we started developing the platform we saw how it could deliver much more for our business and our customers. We now have a platform in place that provides a consistent approach enabling all inbound work to be visible and that provides real-time information on activity and customer service standards across the organisation. In addition this platform provides us with detailed information that we can use to improve efficiency and, because all interactions are recorded through one system, allows us to provide a more intuitive and personable service to our customers.

Accelerate was introduced in 2015 and all three of Zenith’s service locations are now live on the platform.

The launch of Accelerate comes during an exciting time for Zenith after it was recently announced that the company has rebranded from two brands, Zenith and Leasedrive to the single brand Zenith, updated its corporate identity and strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of a new chief commercial officer, Matthew Thompson.

Zenith strengthens its leadership team with appointment of Matthew Thompson as chief commercial officer

Zenith, the UK’s leading independent leasing, fleet management and vehicle outsourcing business, has appointed a new chief commercial officer Matthew Thompson, to be responsible for all customer channels and product development across the company. Matthew is directly accountable for Zenith’s existing customers and will work alongside the commercial teams to further develop the company’s proposition.

Matthew joins Zenith from Compass Group plc where he led significant growth in the international sports and leisure business, first as MD in the UK and then as group director for the sector. Some of his key successes during his time with Compass include; delivering for 3.5m fans and workers at the 2012 Olympics, launching The O2 arena in partnership with AEG and working with iconic venues such as Wimbledon and Twickenham.

Tim Buchan, chief executive officer at Zenith said of Matthew’s appointment: It is my great pleasure to welcome Matthew Thompson to join the Zenith board of directors and to be responsible for all customer channels within the business. Matthew brings with him a wealth of experience in customer management and will be leading our established teams as we launch a series of exciting initiatives and take our customer service proposition to the next level. His credentials are extremely impressive and we look forward to him applying his knowledge and experience from the customer-centric sports and leisure sector to his role here at Zenith.

Matthew said of his new role at Zenith: I am truly thrilled to be joining Zenith at such an exciting time in the company’s development. Zenith has had a remarkable record of success over the past 25 years so I feel that it’s quite an honour to be offered the new role of chief commercial officer.

He continues: I firmly believe that the experience I’ve gained in different industries, with some similar characteristics, will allow me to positively contribute to Zenith’s continued growth. I am very much looking forward to working with the board of directors and the whole Zenith team, as one of my main reasons for joining Zenith was its people driven ethos, shown by its continued position as one of the top 100 companies to work for, as well as its zealous focus on customer service.

The news of Matthew’s appointment comes a week after Zenith and Leasedrive announced that it was rebranding to Zenith.

Zenith Leasedrive Group rebrands as Zenith in preparation for its next phase of growth

Zenith Leasedrive Group, the UK’s leading independent leasing and fleet management company, today (Monday 8 February) introduced the company’s new brand direction to support its next phase of growth.

The group has been trading as two separate brands, Zenith and Leasedrive, since HgCapital acquired both businesses in 2014. From today, the two will be brought together under the Zenith brand. The decision came after a total brand review and reflects the evolution of the company which is now fully integrated with three regional service delivery locations in Crowthorne, Leeds and Solihull.

Zenith has also taken the opportunity to refresh its corporate identity, launch a redesigned website ( and introduce a new colleague intranet.

Zenith’s chief executive officer Tim Buchan said of the decision to move to the Zenith brand: “Our customers and colleagues wanted clarification on our future direction. Transacting as two brands was causing confusion, and working against our desire to have a fully integrated framework. The decision to become one company, with one brand, delivers a material benefit for us as a business as well as building confidence in our future strategy with our customers.”

He continued: “We are at an extremely exciting time in our company’s development and the decision to move to one brand was an important step to support our digital transformation. With our organisational structure and brand now in place, we are able to share the activities we have planned with our customers. We are committed to continuing to invest in innovative, market-leading products and services and delivering them on cutting-edge platforms. We are already starting to see some of these fantastic developments come through and are looking forward to showing our customers over the coming months.”

Wolseley UK's salary sacrifice car scheme with Zenith is the 'Wheel Deal'

Wolseley UK, the country’s leading distributor of plumbing and building materials and products, has introduced a salary sacrifice car scheme named ‘The Wheel Deal’, through Zenith.

The Wheel Deal, which launched in November 2015, was named by Sarah Harrison, support services and governance manager at Wolseley UK. Sarah was the winner of a ‘name the scheme’ competition to generate interest and engagement in the new benefit. Along with the naming competition, Zenith supported the launch by creating an impactful promotional campaign that used a series of distinctive emails, posters and roadshows to publicise The Wheel Deal at various Wolseley UK locations.

Mark Roberts, customer relationship manager at Zenith, said of the partnership: “It is always fantastic to work with a customer who truly understands the advantage of introducing a salary sacrifice car scheme. Wolseley UK is 100% committed to providing innovative benefits and rewards, and has made a significant effort to promote the salary sacrifice car scheme to all colleagues.”

Christina Jones, reward and benefits manager at Wolseley UK said the ‘big bang’ launch campaign paid off: “We have seen a fantastic response to our car salary sacrifice scheme so far with 23 vehicles being ordered in the first month. We are thrilled to have partnered with Zenith and are impressed with their complete focus on high-quality customer service. With the support of Zenith, we believe our car salary sacrifice scheme will continue to be an attractive and lucrative benefit for all our colleagues.”

The scheme is available to 6,500 Wolseley UK colleagues and the first vehicle was delivered in early December.

Four new appointments bring a wealth of industry experience to Zenith Leasedrive Group

Zenith Leasedrive Group strengthens its leadership team with four high-profile new appointments.

All four have worked in the leasing industry for a number of years and bring a wealth of experience with them. Claire Evans and Colin Thomson join from Lex Autolease as head of consultancy and head of accident management, respectively. Ian Gibson joins as IT director from Leaseplan and Robert Kingdom joins from Volkswagen Group as director of white label solutions.

Marisa Jerrison, HR director at Zenith Leasedrive Group comments; “Our latest new appointments have been brought in to drive growth in a number of key areas. The combined knowledge and expertise of Claire, Colin, Ian and Robert adds significant value to our business and puts us in a great position to continue delivering innovative and intelligent vehicle solutions to our customers. I am extremely pleased to welcome all four of them to our business.”

Zenith wins ‘Best overall reward and benefits strategy’ at the first ever Very Important Benefits (VIB) Awards

Zenith has won the award for ‘Best overall reward and benefits strategy’ at Reward magazine’s first ever Very Important Benefits (VIB) Awards event.

Marisa Jerrison, hr director at Zenith Leasedrive group, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded ‘Best overall reward and benefits strategy’ at the inaugural VIB Awards organised by Reward magazine. This award was within the HR practitioners’ category and demonstrates that we apply the same strategic guidance internally as we do for our customers.”

The VIB Awards celebrate excellence in reward and employee benefits for both HR practitioners and product providers, and those shortlisted are recognised by industry experts as leaders in the world of employee benefits. The judging panel comprised sixteen prominent professionals.

Zenith implements salary sacrifice car scheme for Squire Patton Boggs

Zenith has completed the implementation of a salary sacrifice car scheme for global law firm, Squire Patton Boggs.

Squire Patton Boggs provides a whole spectrum of legal services to its clients, which range from Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 corporations to emerging companies and from individuals to local and national governments. The firm has 44 offices in 21 countries.

Alison Rowlands, rewards and benefits manager at Squire Patton Boggs, commented: “We were most impressed with the features of the Zenith salary sacrifice car scheme and the provider’s track record for successfully administering such schemes on behalf of a variety of customers. Zenith was able to demonstrate results above the industry average, which will help drive our employees’ engagement.”

The salary sacrifice car scheme is accessed via single sign-on to a benefits platform provider, Mazars, with fully maintained new cars available on 24 and 36-month terms with mileage options ranging from 4,000 to 40,000.

Zenith account manager, Danielle Fearon, said: “This was the first successful migration of a live salary sacrifice car scheme from an incumbent supplier and the first order was taken within 24 hours.”

Coventry City Council wins ‘Best staff travel policy’ Award at the 2015 Employee Benefits Awards for its mycar salary sacrifice scheme from Leasedrive

Coventry City Council, one of Leasedrive’s newest customers, has won the award for ‘Best staff travel policy’ at the Employee Benefits Awards 2015. The Council was entered in the awards by Leasedrive for the most effective travel strategy for business and perk car drivers. In assessing entries, the judges were looking for a successful strategy that made company cars and allowances truly effective as a benefit in an organisation, backed by quantifiable, measurable results.

Jane Williams, payroll support and project specialist at Coventry City Council, who received the award, said: “Like all councils, motivating staff while reducing the cost of delivering services is a fine balancing act and mycar has proven an innovative way to achieve this and position us as an employer of choice. We have over 7,700 eligible employees for the salary sacrifice car scheme and mycar has already delivered significant savings to the Council by way of reduced National Insurance and pension contributions. Average emissions for cars ordered on the scheme are just 101g/km, 27.3g/km lower than the average CO2 output of ‘at work’ private cars they replaced, boosting the Council’s corporate social responsibility.”

David Brown, business development manager at Leasedrive, said: “There were two key features to the mycar scheme for Coventry City Council. First, when the Council awarded the contract, it created a framework agreement with Leasedrive enabling similarly minded local government organisations to easily adopt a salary sacrifice car scheme without going through the lengthy procurement process. Second, we developed a bespoke web solution for the Council, incorporating a Local government pensions calculator to ensure that employees are fully informed of the implications of joining the scheme, which again other local authorities can use if they sign up to mycar.”

Under the mycar initiative, employees sacrifice some of their salary in exchange for a brand new vehicle which is fully serviced and maintained. The employee saves tax and National Insurance on the money sacrificed and the employer saves National Insurance, making it a very cost effective way of leasing a car for both.

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