John Neill, Chairman & Group Chief Executive of the Unipart Group received the Sir Robert Lawrence Award for 2013 by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. The Sir Robert Lawrence Award is the Institute’s premier award.
The award is presented to an individual judged to have made a major contribution to logistics and transport over a sustained period and, in doing so, to have raised the sector’s status and recognition. It was presented to John Neill at CILT’s Annual Awards for Excellence Dinner held in London on 24th October 2013. Awards were made to individuals and organisations in a total of 15 categories.
CILT board member John Boulter FCILT, MD Retail, DHL Supply Chain presented the Sir Robert Lawrence Award to John Neill, and told guests at the dinner of his successful career:
John Neill was educated at George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde where he gained a BA and then his MBA.
In 1974, John joined Unipart, the parts and service division of the state owned British Leyland. In 1976, aged just 29 years old, he was put in charge of the division. As well as making Unipart one of Britain’s best known brands for automotive components, he developed logistics services for competitor companies. It was logical that the company should be taken independent in a management buyout led by John, and partly financed by a wider employee share scheme.
The whole culture of the business had to change from being part of a nationalised industry to a business owned by its management and employees. The company developed its own philosophy known as ‘The Unipart Way,’ and offers supply chain consultancy to external clients based on lean thinking and continuous improvement. This thinking has extended from its roots in manufacturing into other sectors including the NHS.
John Neill’s other interests include Business in the Community, where he is a member of the Council and the Board as well as being Vice President of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and a Non-Executive Director of Rolls-Royce plc. He was formerly a Director of the Bank of England and a Non-Executive Director of Royal Mail.
John was appointed Prince’s Ambassador for the South East for 2009 by HRH The Prince of Wales.
In July 2012 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Strathclyde. He has also been awarded Honorary Doctorates by Oxford Brookes, Middlesex and De Montfort universities.
He was awarded a CBE in June 1994 for services to industry.
The transformation of Unipart into a successful independent company and his influence on supply chain thinking from championing the ‘Unipart Way’ marks John out as a truly deserving recipient.
John said: “I would like to pay tribute to the men and women throughout Unipart who are the ones who really deserve the award. It was especially pleasing to receive this award in the same year Unipart celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Mark In Action Award. Over 2,600 people have received the Mark In Action Award for living up to the corporate goal which is ‘to make the Unipart logo the mark of outstanding personal customer service’.”