at Coventrys Peugeot plant were left stunned today when the companys managing
director was axed after five years in the job.
Richard Parham will leave the Ryton-on-Dunsmore plant at the end of June after being
with the company for over 30 years, news which staff at the plant greeted with disbelief.
The 56-year-old boss was widely regarded as one of the major factors in the
Peugeots staggering success over the last five years, highlighted by the rise in
their market share from 2% to 9%.
The company is refusing to answer any questions about the move, but it is believed that
Parham was unhappy about his role as MD being diminished by much of the decision making
being done at Peugeot Citroens Paris headquarters.
In a statement Peugeot said:
"UK managing director Mr Richard Parham is leaving to pursue other activites,
Peugeot Citroen records its sincere thanks for the major contribution Mr Parham has made
to the success of Peugeot in the UK."
The Ryton plant is expected to see the arrival of a new MD shortly after Parhams
departure, with the new man expected to act upon decisions made in Paris.
The news carries a certain irony after Mr Parham was given much of the credit for
bucking the trend of job losses in the motor industry, the Ryton plant employed close to a
1,000 extra workers recently after the staggering success of the 206 model.
The factory has also become the first in Europe to switch to a seven-day working week,
and in the last five years has invested over £100 million in facility developments.
Transport union convenor John McHendry admitted that he had no idea that the managing
director was set to leave.
"I was with him last week at a pension fund meeting and there was no hint about
his surprise departure.
"This is all part of a massive re-organisation and it looks as if Mr Parhams
role has diminished."