Marcus Puddy is head of fleet management at Lloyds TSB Autolease. He describes, with a steady gaze, his position as 'advising fleets and companies on best practice on policies and guidelines - end-to-end company car procedures'. Yet he is a titan of car fleet matters. Contract hire company Lloyds TSB Autolease owns 140,000 vehicles, the largest fleet in Britain. What's more, he is the fleet manager's fleet manager. Between February 2000, when he joined Autolease, and 2004, Puddy worked relentlessly at the sharp end, directly responsible for managing Lloyds TSB's own fleet of 6,600 cars.
It was a period of intense activity, as he needed to confront profound changes in company car tax and develop an occupational road risk programme. At the same time, he was able to deliver savings of £3.5 million after introducing a new salesforce car scheme, and by tough negotiation with manufacturers he shaved a tenth off the whole life cost of employee company cars.
'The fleet wasn't in the best of shape,' he recalls. 'It had no direction and it was leaking money. We needed to recover costs without our drivers seeing any deterioration in their car scheme. My priority was to get budgets right and then to attack our total costs, which included things like the number of replacement windscreens we needed and the price of tyres.