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MAN ON A MISSION

MD Mike Ellenthorpe aims for record-setting 2018

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 17, 2017



NEWLY appointed managing director at ATL Automotive Mike Ellenthorpe is au fait with pushing boundaries and redefining limits.

In fact, the Englishman is part of a team etched on the hallowed pages of the Guinness Book of World Records for playing rugby at Africa's highest point. The feat took place at Kilimanjaro Crater Camp in Tanzania at 18,865 feet above sea level — 475 feet below the summit — in October 2015. More than £500,000 was raised from the effort as donation towards cancer research, organ donation, and a benevolent fund for injured rugby players.

In early August, Ellenthorpe assumed the MD's chair after the departure of General Manager Matthew Cripps. He is responsible for all the brands under the Adam Stewart-led ATL Automotive: Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW, Mini, Honda, and recently acquired Kia. Kia's operations are slated to commence March 1, 2018, at the dealership's New Kingston and Montego Bay facilities.

Started in 1997, ATL Automotive is part of the Gordon “Butch” Stewart-owned Sandals/ATL group of companies, which include Island Routes and the Jamaica Observer newspaper.

Despite being on the job just a few months, there's no honeymoon period for the new managing director. He has his sights already set on a local record in Jamaica's highly competitive automotive sector.

“We have huge ambitions for ATL Automotive. Because we have grown so much, there's never a dull moment. There are several things we would like to achieve, which is part of our vision. We will be number one in Jamaica in the automotive industry; there's no doubt about that. We're pushing to be number one in 2018; we are currently number two. With the acquisition and addition of Kia we're confident. Also, we want to be best practice for customer satisfaction for every manufacturer. We don't want to be the best only in Jamaica, but in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Ellenthorpe told the Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine at his Oxford Road office in St Andrew on Tuesday morning.

“My vision is pretty simple. We want to do the basics of the automotive retail world extremely well. So what's important for us is to make sure that we recognise and value our customers, making sure they feel part of the ATL family, and we want to focus much more now on customer service and customer experience. All through my automotive career I've been focused on customer excellence.”

“Customer service is very paramount to the success of the operations. I'm very passionate about it. I've been part of customer service programmes all the way through my career... I put that at the absolute pinnacle for everything. So I have to make sure my team understands the standard, understand the level that we're trying to achieve and everything that is associated with customer service... from meeting at the front gate all the way through the process... We need to have smiles, great energy, positive atmosphere — really welcome the customer to our company, make them feel valued,” he continued.

Ellenthorpe said that, as a team player, he is very much cognisant of the fact that his mission can only be accomplished with a dynamic and devoted team, which he feels is already in place. He is committed to the task and has pledged a long-term plan to support, help and guide the company to achieve its full potential and beyond for many successful years ahead.

“I've been part of some amazing teams in my career, but I've also been part of some amazing teams in my personal life... For me, I'm all about winning, but I love to win as a team and we all pull through together. So it's not about having somebody at the top who's got the ego; we're all in this together, so from the guys who work hard to wash the cars right up to myself, we're all in this together, so I value teamwork very highly,” he said.

“I've been brought in by CEO Adam Stewart to take this group to the next level... It's a very dynamic group; very diverse with many, many manufacturers. We've grown quite considerably over the last few years, and the most important area for us is to make sure we step up and look after our customers and represent the brand to very highest level. Our aim is excellence...every time, every day,” he continued.

With nearly three decades of experience in the automotive industry, the ATL Automotive executive has an impressive résumé. He has held several senior management positions and has taken up assignments in the United Kingdom, South Africa, the Middle East, India, and Asia Pacific.

“The journey started some time ago. I've been in the auto industry for 27 years and I have a passion always for cars, from I was a young guy. I was given an opportunity many years ago to be a junior sales executive. So my journey basically started right at the bottom and I've worked extremely hard to understand all facets of the business — sales, service, customer service, parts, from the retail side, from the manufacturer's side — so I got a 360-degree international understanding of motor industry. It's been a wonderful journey to date and it will continue for many years,” he said.

To ensure his team is equipped and possesses the know-how to tackle any challenge, the MD said the company will be launching an ATL Automotive Academy which will provide employees with dedicated training and development programmes “to groom diamonds of the future”.

A devoted family man, Ellenthorpe is married to wife Gayle. He has two sons — Eliot and Jordan — who are attending university and college, respectively, in the United Kingdom.

And his thoughts about Jamaica?

“It's my first time in Jamaica to live and work. It's very similar in many ways to the places I've lived in and in so many different countries... so it isn't a challenge... It's wonderful to be here. It's great to see so many people with so much energy and smiles. I believe there are lots of positive days ahead for Jamaica and its people,” Ellenthorpe said.

 

 

 

 

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