One of the British motor industry’s most successful production experts is looking for a job.
Yesterday Frank Tilston, British Leyland’s 43-year-old director of manufacturing plans, left the company after a reported clash with Bill Davis, 54, the group’s manufacturing chief. There has been no official announcement of his departure but a spokesman at British Leyland’s London headquarters confirmed to Business Diary that Tilston had resigned with effect from yesterday.
The break will not surprise close observers of the motor industry. Both men are extremely strong characters and since Tilston joined Davis’s new central manufacturing team at Coventry there has been speculation about the outcome of an inevitable clash of personalities. A close colleague of both men said yesterday
“Frank is how looking for a job.”
Tilston, a native of Liverpool, has a remarkable record. He was with Chrysler in Canada and the United States from 1954 to 1961, and obtained a master’s degree in business administration at Detroit University. He returned to Britain in 1961 to join Ford at Dagenham as financial’ controller and later production manager. Five years later he was on the move again, this time- back’ to Chrysler,’ as manufacturing director, with the specific task of producing and launching the Avenger.
It was the first Chrysler car to be built at Ryton, Coventry, with its own body. Previous bodies had been supplied by Pressed Steel, now part of British Leyland. Tilston did it so successfully that when British Leyland planned to introduce a similar model , the Marina – they sought Tilston’s help. He became, first, director and general manager of Austin Morris, Cowley, and, later, managing director of the body and assembly division.
He moved to the new Coventry office block a few months ago.