Filmer Paradise, the 54-vear old American who surprised the motor industry six weeks ago bv resigning as director of sales for British Leyland’s Austin-Morris division. is going to sell Japanese cars in Britain and Europe. He has been appointed a director of Giltspur the £15m public group which runs one of the biggest Toyota distributorships in the country, Raynesway of Derbv. But Giltspur also hold extensive British Leyland commercial vehicle and car franchises. In the past the British company has taken a strong stand with franchise holders selling imports.
Last night Paradise told us: “I do not see any clash of interests and. of course. I am not going over to the other side. The Toyota business is quite separate from the British Leyland business. I talked to Lord Stokes this morning and he was deighted with my appointment. Of course in the sense that I am now moving from selling cars to dealers to buying them from manufacturers. I am now on the other side, a fact that was not lost on Lord Stokes who said, ‘I shall have to be nice to you now that you are one of my customers’.”
But where was was the challenge for someone who had run Ford Italy, headed British Leylands European operation, and until recently was reportedly the highest paid car sales chief in Britain; Paradise said: “This will be the biggest challenge yet. It is great to he back in harness. Of course, it is not a multi-national giant but it is an excellent medium sized company with aggressive young management open to new ideas and wanting to go places. We can take decisions and act on them with great speed because we are a compact board. We intend to expand at home and abroad by acquisitions and other means.”
His new boss, Alan Fowler, Giltspur’s managing director, said: “We are delighted to have Filmer join us. He has the sort of international business connections and marketing expertise that we need for the next stage of our reorganization and expansion.”