Kent Bjertrup, CCO ALD International: “Focus on our identity to drive success”
“If a few years ago someone would have asked car leasing companies whether we'd go into integrated alternative mobility, we all would have said: No, it's not our core business. We were wrong”, says Kent Bjertrup. As of 1 February, the former ALD Regional Director for North East Europe is the new Chief Commercial Officer at ALD International.
Car leasing specialist ALD International has more than 1.2 million vehicles in management in 41 countries across the globe. One of its strategic aims is expansion of its fleet service portfolio with alternative mobility and connectivity solutions all around the world , as well as reaching out to new customer target groups.
“Until recently, car leasing companies were convinced that car financing and company car service delivery were their core activities – and always would be. But”, says Kent Bjertrup, “we were wrong. There is only one way to continue to succeed in car leasing and fleet management in Europe and in emerging countries, and that is to consider the complete mobility chain”.
One important link in that chain is the private customer, whom ALD Automotive is targeting via its Private Lease offerings. Those offerings, already existing in a few European countries but still limited, will expand at an accelerated pace this year, by the way. “We expect a lot from Private Lease. The market feels ready. Customers young and old are switching from a tradition of ownership to a fresh acceptance of sharing and leasing. That's why I think we won't have to push Private Lease; it will grow organically”, Bjertrup believes.
ALD Automotive’s ongoing acquisition of France-based car lease company Parcours is partly motivated by the Private Lease angle: “Parcours have a different business model. They operate with self-owned locations throughout the country, to offer maintenance, repair and consultancy to their clients. Those locations could be ideal venues to provide private lease and mobility services”.
The name Parcours itself is another plus: “ALD International is an internationally respected brand that is associated with B2B services. It may be better to gather our Private Lease and other possible retail activities under a new brand name.”.
Continued market consolidation
One of the car lease industry's most noticeable characteristics of late has been the strong trend towards consolidation. “And it will continue”, says Bjertrup. “ALD Automotive’s own strategy has been to focus on local acquisitions, such as MKB Autoleasing in Bulgaria and Hungary, which strengthened our local market leadership; Gold Car Fleet in Spain, which will help us develop our mid-term lease product; and a number of smaller players in the Netherlands. And then of course there are the current negotiations with Parcours”.
And more may follow. ALD Automotive will remain on the lookout for growth opportunities. “We believe the time is right. In the past, our growth was organic. Between 2000 and 2007, we opened a lot of subsidiaries in order to create a global presence, thus responding to the emerging global needs of our international fleet customers. Then came the financial crisis. But now we see there is space and time to enter upon a second phase of dynamic growth, both in Europe and beyond. And acquisitions will play their part in that process”.
As ALD International's brand new Chief Commercial Officer, Kent Bjertrup is ambitious not just for the scope of the brand, also for its perception by the market: “ALD Automotive is a strong company, with great service delivery, lots of innovative products and first-class experts as employees. We have to show this more. We need to be better at promoting our products and services, at sharing our know-how”.
“My goal is to drive ALD International's commercial success forward by focusing on our identity. By adapting our commercial strategy to focus on competitive pricing. By an eagerness to innovate. And by delivering high-class customer service”.