GSF announces new-look leadership team

GSF Car Parts, bought last year by private equity firm Epiris and the Ahluwalia family, has assembled a new leadership team as part of plans to challenge the dominant players in the aftermarket.

This new team comprises “the best current and emerging talent in the aftermarket”, the brand, led by executive chair Sukhpal Ahluwalia and CEO Steve Horne, said.

Five of the six new recruits worked for GSF’s rival LKQ Euro Car Parts – the massive parts supplier that Sukhpal Ahluwalia founded. The new team will help the firm as it adds 20 new branches to its 180-strong network over the coming 12 months, with up to 20 further locations to follow from 2025.

The new recruits

Martin Gray, chief talent officer

Grey is a highly experienced recruiter who was instrumental in the rapid growth of Phones4u and LKQ Euro Car Parts. His focus at GSF is strengthening and accelerating the company’s recruitment as it embarks on a period of significant and sustained network growth and investment.

Alistair Preston, chief customer officer

Preston co-founded, scaled and exited the UK’s largest online marketplace for car repairs, WhoCanFixMyCar.com. Preston’s role focuses on developing and maintaining customer relationships and helping enhance GSF’s market position as it embarks on a new period of growth and investment.

Before moving into the automotive sector Preston spent 10 years in financial services working for Lehman Brothers, and then Nomura.

Paul Wright, sales and operations director

Wright has worked his way from the aftermarket shop floor to the boardroom over two highly successful decades in the industry. Wright has a comprehensive knowledge of branch best-practice and is hugely connected with customers across the independent market.

Most recently he occupied a strategic B2B role at LKQ Euro Car Parts and is now focused on supercharging the GSF branch network and operations in order to give teams the tools, knowledge and resources they need to better service customers.

Lee Forty, national accounts and garage equipment director

Forty occupied key leadership positions in workshop solutions, garage concepts and commercial directorship at both LKQ Euro Car Parts and Integrated Supply Network. His focus will be key account development and acquisition, as well as the growth of GSF’s workshop-focused garage equipment arm.

Chris Barella, digital director

Barella’s expertise in website optimisation, design and marketing is top level in the automotive aftermarket, having spent 21 years at LKQ Euro Car Parts growing its ecommerce from zero to £250m. His focus will be helping to refine GSF’s customers’ digital journey and accelerate online sales growth.

David Bevan, corporate affairs director

Bevan successfully ran an independent motor factor chain in the west midlands before occupying director-level roles across marketing, sales and national accounts at Partco and Unipart Automotive, as well as director of strategy at LKQ Euro Car Parts during its high-growth years.

Bevan helped create UK AFCAAR, the lobbying body recognised by UK Government as the principal advocate for the independent aftermarket that successfully negotiated the renewal of block exemption legislation on favourable terms.

The new recruits join GSF’s existing leadership team of chief financial officer Sally Dowling, chief commercial officer Paula Huesca de Crean, chief strategy officer Sukhbir Kapoor, HR director Jo Warren, IT director Shaun Devey and ecommerce director Farhan Hussain. Bill Stimson and Adam White also join the team as head of chairman’s office and head of CEO’s office respectively.

Sukhpal Ahluwalia, executive chairman, said: “I am delighted to be working alongside such an extraordinary leadership team. We have some of the aftermarket’s biggest juggernauts, all of whom have a proven track record for success, innovation and rapid growth, which are three objectives firmly on the agenda for GSF.

“Our leadership team have hit the ground running, and I am confident that together this team will lead our people across the UK and Ireland to unprecedented levels of success.

“We can only achieve this by offering the best customer experience in the industry and that’s exactly what we’re committed to doing. I know the aftermarket inside out and the plans we have to invest, scale and develop the service we offer to customers are going to make GSF the partner of choice for garages, suppliers and the public.”

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