James Brearley

Following a five-year revision of Inchcape UK’s operating structure, the company’s former CEO James Brearley has stepped down. Under his leadership, the premium motor retailer saw major change, including the much-needed digital modernisation of its customer experience and the optimisation of its used car retail division. He leaves the company in a strong position with clear potential for its future success and growth. Brearley is now set to take up a new challenge post restriction in November 2022.

A Major Overhaul

Brearley first joined Inchcape PLC in 2016 as its special projects director, a role that saw him assist in several oversea distribution acquisitions and play a major part in the company’s Ignite strategy. 

He became UK Chief Executive in January in 2017, he created a bold new vision for the next five years. The strategy involved a drastic restructuring of Inchcape’s operations with goals to digitise the customer experience, dramatically reduce costs through standardisation and digitalisation of processes, increase the skill base and rationalise the franchise portfolio to rebalance the business further towards repeatable aftersales and used car revenues. 

Inchcape UK has now achieved the five-year plan outlined by Brearley in considerable style with a remarkable upturn in profits even with Covid disruption.  Brearley has stepped down as head of the UK automotive retail business to take up a new challenge post non compete restrictions. At the time of his leaving, Brearley noted that all brands were performing in the upper quartile of manufacturer composite scorecards. He is delighted to see Inchcape UK doing well and attributes the success to the efforts of fantastic team members throughout  the business. 

“I am proud to have worked with this team and wish all of them continued success, as I do the wider group,” he said.

Additional Achievements With Inchcape

During his time with the company, Brearley also led Inchcape UK to achieve several high-ranking awards from its major retail partners. Amongst the successes are awards from Porsche, BMW, and MINI and accolades such as Mercedes-Benz Dealer Group of the Year and Lexus Dealer Group of the Year, both of which Inchcape secured for two years running.

The Inchcape Group Chief Executive Duncan Tait expressed his thanks, saying he was grateful to Brearley for his contribution to the company, especially the work they achieved together in the past year developing and implementing the new global accelerate strategy.

Looking Ahead

Looking to the future of the automotive industry, two trends excite Brearley: the digitisation of retail and retail processes and the electrification of powertrains. He believes these factors will drive the increase in efficiency and bring huge change, equalling greater opportunities for the automotive sector.

Alongside his professional achievements, Brearley continues his involvement in philanthropic causes. For the last six years, Brearley has acted as a trustee for the non-profit organisation We Are All Making a Difference. The charitable trust is based in Solihull, UK, and donates to a wide range of beneficiaries. The charity has a special commitment to causes such as homelessness, those with disabilities, and children’s charities.

Brearley is also involved in preserving automotive history. As one of the founding directors of Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb PLC, over the last two decades, he has invested in protecting and curating the history of the famous hill-climbing venue, the oldest in the world to still run events on its original course.

About James Brearley

James Brearley has extensive experience in the automotive retail sector, with a career spanning terms with various premium group brands, including Stratstone, part of Pendragon PLC, and Inchcape PLC. Under his guidance as chief executive of Inchcape’s UK retail business, the operation has seen a combined company turnover of £3 billion.

Learn more about James Brearley.

By Rolen Awerkamp

Kristin Burton is a highly acclaimed author, journalist, and editor who has made a significant impact in the literary world. As a journalist for InEntertainment, she has covered a wide range of topics, including politics, culture, and social issues. Her work has been recognized and honored by many prominent organizations and publications.