The 42-year-old ex-Pirelli and ex-Ford financial specialist has still to convince many of his British Leyland colleagues that his new role in the corporation is either necessary or justified by past events. Andrews is managing director of British Leyland International, which, along with Cars, Truck and Bus, and Special Products, makes up the four largely autonomous companies formed in the post-Ryder shake-up.
It is also the company which has been most criticized. Before Ryder many British Leyland line managers were openly critical of the existing International division. They complained that it constituted an obstacle rather than an aid to better sales in overseas markets. Andrews is well aware of the intensity of this feeling. Asked how he is countering it he answers simply: “By performance-by showing them over the next few years how wrong they were.”
As the executive responsible for British Leyland’s overseas sales and manufacturing his turnover tops Â£750m a year- more than half the corporation’s total turnover. “And that” according to Andrews, “is just too big and important to be left to a lot of manufacturing people who have competing calls on their time and responsibilities”.
As one of the plethora of whiz-kids recruited from Ford in the early days of BLMC, he was first group financial controller and then deputy to George Turnbull, when that powerful character was managing director of Austin Morris. A deceptively quiet, bespectacled man, he has already surprised colleagues by his outspoken condemnation of Leyland quality and his insistence that as their biggest customer he would rather lose orders than sell second class products.