Leeds-based Zenith to target more hires as it sets its sights on becoming Yorkshire's biggest company

Vehicle leasing giant Zenith intends to hire more staff in the ensuing months with its chief executive saying he wants the firm to become the biggest company in Yorkshire.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:36 am

Leeds-based Zenith, the UK’s leading independent fleet solutions business, delivered earnings of £61.5m in its corporate fleet business in the year to the end of March, up £3.2m, or 5.4 per cent on the previous year.

Its chief executive, Tim Buchan, inset, told The Yorkshire Post that the demand for Zenith’s services and the growth in its divisions would necessitate further hires.

“We will continue to grow,” he said.

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Zenith is looking to expand its workforce.

“It will be interesting to see the pattern of employees and the pattern of jobs that we have. We will have a lot of digital jobs because investment in technology has been huge for us.

“But right across the whole workforce we will continue to expand, both in the workshops and in the offices.”

He added: “We want this HQ to be the foundation for the company and drive that out of Yorkshire. We want to be the biggest company in Yorkshire

“Our aspiration is to grow, create jobs and work with the community to bring through new apprentices.”

CEO Tim Buchan.

Mr Buchan acknowledged that attracting the top talent remained an ongoing challenge but insisted the business was well-placed to deal with this.

“It is very tough competition wise.

“But we are not starting from zero. We haven’t stopped. We have roles to fill all the time.”

Headquartered at the Kirkstall Forge development in Leeds, Zenith today manages over 150,000 vehicles across the full range of asset types from company cars and vans to trucks and trailers.

Zenith's Kirkstall Forge HQ.

Its portfolio has also continued to grow over the last twelve months and includes some of the UK’s most famous household names.

As Mr Buchan said: “It has been a solid year for us.”

Zenith has been one of the region’s fastest-growing large corporates in recent years.

Previously a car and light van leasing business, Zenith diversified its model to expanded into the business and consumer markets.

This meant that the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns did as adversely impact the company as much as it could have done.

Mr Buchan said: “When Covid came, whilst our fleet of company cars was parked up due to lockdown, we saw a significant expansion in the heavy goods and home delivery side.

“Some of our very big customers continued to drive forward, and so too did logistics. That side of the business became much more intense.

“On a normalised basis we actually increased the level of business we were doing.”

In September 2020, Zenith acquired the fleet services and rental operations of the Cartwright Group, saving the jobs of 259 new colleagues who joined Zenith’s commercial division.

Both Zenith Commercial Fleet Solutions and Zenith Trailer Rentals have performed strongly since the acquisition.

Zenith also continues to transition to electric vehicles, having announced that the company’s own car fleet for its employees would be all electric by 2025.

The firm also signed up to the Kickstart scheme to offer career opportunities to local 16–24-year-olds and achieved carbon neutral status with certification from Carbon Footprint.

The latter move was achieved through a number of means, including a comprehensive examination of their company car use, the energy that the company’s buildings consumed, home vehicle charging and a wide range of factors in its supply chain.

Mark Phillips, Zenith’s chief financial officer, added that the business was tapping into an ongoing consumer trend.

“The population is moving move towards buying things that they need regularly on a subscription basis,” he said.

“I think people are getting used to just paying a fixed amount for a service – and that is what a leased vehicle is.”

Mr Buchan added: “I’m really excited as we look forward to the coming year.

“We have seen that our business model, our unique range of services and the demand for vehicle mobility will be central to everybody’s lives in the future as we emerge from the pandemic and I am confident that Zenith will continue to go from strength to strength.

“2020 was unlike any other year in living memory, with the global Covid-19 pandemic creating huge challenges. Despite this, I am pleased that we were able to deliver such an excellent performance. It’s testament to the quality and culture of the business that we were not only able to hold our position but to deliver strong growth in so many areas.”