The bank-owned leasing firms of Western Europe dominate in Leasing Life‘s Power 50, a run-down of the most influential people in the European industry. There are figures of influence, however, emerging from the East. Grant Collinson reports.

Leasing Life asked online readers to send in their nominations for the most influential people in the European industry – those who have the biggest scope to change the sector or are responsible for the shape of the market thus far, and, as usual, the readership did not disappoint.

What the resulting list reveals is that the focus of power resides in Western Europe – in France, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands predominantly – but the inclusion of representatives from Russia, Poland and Turkey perhaps shows there is a shift towards the East.

The leaders of bank-owned leasing firms also have a strong showing in the list, but plenty of representatives from manufacturer finance appear too, as do advisors and consultants.

Those bodies lobbying on behalf of the industry received plenty of nominations too and Leaseurope and several of its member organisations made the list. Many on the list are active participants within these organisations and at industry events – indeed, a considerable number of the Power 50 have been nominated for their involvement in trade bodies.

There is also an interesting selection of people from outside the industry whose influence over global politics and economics directly or indirectly impacts on the European leasing industry.

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One negative aspect highlighted by the Power 50 is the lack of diversity at the top of European leasing as the final list is 90% male and 96% white.

Industry diversity is an issue the recently established Leasing Foundation has said it intends to tackle so it is heartening to see a strong showing for the organisation’s governors.

The list which follows was compiled entirely from nominations and limited to fifty by a process of elimination undertaken by the Leasing Life editorial team. Inclusion was based on analysis of the reasons given and examination of an individuals influence on the leasing market.

No ranking has been imposed within the top 50.

J Andrew Jonathan Andrew
chief executive, Siemens Financial ServicesAndrew leads one of the most extensive and successful global leasing companies operating today and is counted as an influence on every market in which Siemens Financial Services operates. He also sits as a governor of the Leasing Foundation. “Other lessors would do well to learn from his focus and a continued ability to achieve sustainable profitable growth and returns and not be driven by volume for volume’s sake,” said one nominator.
John Bennett
retired, former MD of Hitachi Capital Business FinanceIn more than 30 years in the industry, Bennett has held the top job at five different leasing firms, worked in several European markets and sat on the boards of Leaseurope and the UK’s Finance & Leasing Association for five years including a two year term as chairman of Leaseurope. Bennett is highly regarded across the industry for his influence and experience and his involvement in shaping industry policy.
J Bennett
G Ashworth George Ashworth
managing director, Aldermore Asset FinanceAshworth sits on the Leaseurope board and is chair of asset finance at the UK’s FLA.
He has held senior leadership roles in European asset finance for more than 20 years and currently leads one of the UK’s fastest-growing leasing businesses.
Ashworth was nominated as “a leading and enthusiastic voice within the leasing industry”.
Jean-Laurent Bonnafé
chief executive, BNP ParibasAs head of the French banking giant, charged with steering BNP Paribas through Europe’s financial crisis and implementing a strategy for growth amid capital restraints, ultimate responsibility for BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions rests with Bonnafé.
Jean Louis Bouchard
president, Econocom GroupBouchard’s experience in IT finance stretches back to the mid-1970s when he set up the French technology funder ECS and, following rapid expansion, sold the firm to Société Générale. He also set up Econocom to conduct business outside France, which bought ECS back from the French bank in 2010 and is now a global IT leasing business. Bouchard was nominated in this poll for his role in the development of the still expanding IT leasing sector.
P Carayol Phillippe Carayol
chief executive, Credit Agricole Leasing & FactoringAppointed the top position in late 2011, Carayol has overseen a difficult time for Crédit Agricole Leasing & Factoring as the bank’s adjustment plan has forced a reduction in cash consumption at the division.
Nonetheless CAL&F has maintained a steady revenue stream over 2012 and, with reduced costs, remains a profitable unit, Greek exposure notwithstanding.
Didier Chappet
chief executive,
BNP Paribas Leasing SolutionsAt the helm of Europe’s largest leasing network since 2010, Chappet has been responsible for the leasing division’s continued growth and implementation of its progressive Basel III strategy which has already led to streamlined operations and increased profitability.
D Chappet
JP Chifflet Jean-Paul Chifflet
chief executive, Crédit AgricoleAs the head of Crédit Agricole, Chifflet has ultimate responsibility for one of Europe’s biggest bank-owned lessors and, with high levels of new business continuing to be written, clearly values the input of the leasing and factoring business as he implements the bank’s adjustment plan.
Vahid Daemi
chief executive, LeasePlanDaemi has led Europe’s largest independent fleet lessors for six years and sat on its board for the previous eight.
His knowledge, experience and influence have helped make LeasePlan one of Europe’s top ten leasing companies and earned him a vice-chairmanship of Leaseurope this year.
V Daemi
A Denton Andrew Denton
chief operating officer,
CHP ConsultingA leading presence in the industry, Denton has been instrumental in his company’s support of the industry in Europe and at a global level.
Denton is also a co-founder of the recently established Leasing Foundation which aims to support the leasing industry through research and personnel development. One nominator said Denton “will dictate a lot of how the industry operates in the future.”
Marie-Christine Ducholet
chief executive, Sociétié Générale Equipment FinanceDucholet has headed up one of the biggest leasing networks in the world for the past year, previous to which she sat on Société Générale’s specialised financial services and insurance board which governs the equipment finance arm.
Ducholet has worked with Société Générale since 1985 and early this year became a governor of the Leasing Foundation.
MC Ducholet
H Fittler Horst Fittler
chief executive,
Bundesverband Deutscher Leasing-Unternehmen (BDL)Fittler has led the leasing trade body in Europe’s biggest leasing market since 2010, a position he took up following several years as chief executive of Commerz Real Equipment Leasing.
Along with BDL president Martin Mudersbach, Fittler is also the author of a comprehensive guide to leasing The Leasing Handbook.
Patrick Gouin
global head of strategy & business optimisation, SGEFAs the head of Société Générale’s technology leasing arm from 2008 to 2012, Gouin developed the business into one of SGEF’s most important divisions. He is regarded as an innovative and forward-thinking industry leader and is an active and vocal participant within the leasing industry. This summer he was appointed as head of strategy for the business with responsibility for developing SGEF for future growth.
P Gouin
Frederico Ghizzoni
chief executive of UniCreditThe Italian banking giant has been heavily impacted by the eurozone crisis as has its leasing arm.
Nonetheless, support from its parent has allowed UniCredit Leasing to maintain its position as one of the top five lessors in Europe.
Patrick Jelly
managing director, Pitney Bowes Global Financial ServicesWith ten years at the helm of the US communication technology firm’s financing arm, Jelly has substantial experience in manufacturer leasing which led him to co-found the Captives Forum, of which he is currently chairman, formalising regular knowledge-sharing meetings between captives. Prior to joining Pitney Bowes, Jelly held roles at captive and vendor lenders as well as bank-owned leasing companies. He is also a governor of the Leasing Foundation.
A Hart Andy Hart
head of large corporate and interim managing director, LombardHart has led the business and commercial arm of the UK’s biggest leasing company since 2009 and has been credited with the division’s restructure. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, Hart was appointed interim managing director of the whole of Lombard when Alex Baldock departed earlier this year and joined the Leasing Foundation as a governor.
Jan Hommen
chief executive and chairman, ING GroupHommen has overseen ING’s dramatic restructure in the wake of the bank’s capital injection from the Dutch government in 2008, a strategy which included running down ING Lease in 11 markets and bring the remaining units into line with the bank’s commercial arm.
J Hommen
A Leesmith Alan Leesmith
director, IAA-AdvisoryLeesmith has considerable experience in the leasing industry, having held c-level roles at several leasing companies. Leesmith advises the industry on treasury issues, capital market transactions and M&A and frequently shares his knowledge at industry event presentations around the world. He is currently the secretary of the Captives Forum and a governor of the Leasing Foundation.
Elmar Lukas
managing director, equipment finance
EMEA, GE CapitalThe leasing arm of US industrial giant GE has continually posted significant profits and grown in stature within its parent group, with its European division playing an increasingly important part in group strategy. Previously head of the company’s German operation, Lukas took the lead role in 2010 and immediately set a strong expansion policy in motion.
E Lukas
T Malin Tony Mallin
chief executive, Star Capital Partners and former chair of the FLA and Leaseurope,With 20 years in the leasing industry including a stint as FLA chair from 1993 to 1994 and chairman of Leaseurope from 1997 to 1999, Mallin was nominated for his role in shaping the European leasing industry. Currently, Mallin runs private equity firm Star Capital Partners where he has used his experience in leasing to invest in strategic asset-owning businesses.
Jacqueline Mills
director of asset finance and research, LeaseuropeMills has led the European leasing industry’s response to the lease accounting project and lobbied persistently for improvements to the draft regulation. Mills also leads Leaseurope’s research division which undertakes studies to provide evidence to regulators and legislators on the benefits of leasing, including a recent project on the impacts of Basel III. She was nominated in recognition of Leaseurope’s successes in this area.
J Mills
T Mistry Tarun Mistry
partner and head of leasing and consumer finance, Grant ThortonMistry consults on all aspects of the industry and has been advising the top players in European leasing for the past eight years, prior to which he held board level finance positions within the industry.
Mistry set-up Grant Thornton’s specialist leasing team in 2007 and in 2012 became a founding director of the Leasing Foundation.
Massimiliano Moi
chief executive, UniCredit Leasing and chairman of LeaseuropeSince taking control of UniCredit Leasing in 2008, Moi has established himself as a renowned and influential thinker in the industry. As well heading up one Europe’s largest leasing networks and championing innovation at a time of significant change, Moi is on the board of the Italian leasing body Assilea and has recently been appointed chairman of Leaseurope.
M Moi
Jean-Marc Mignerey
former chief executive of SGEFThe head of SGEF since its inception in 2001 until 2011, a Leaseurope board member from 2002 to 2011, including two years as the body’s chairman, and a long-standing voice in the industry, Mignerey’s influence is huge. He set up Société Générale’s vendor programme and led the integration with Deutsche Bank’s GEFA unit. Mignerey still holds a chair on the SGEF board.
Piet Moerland
chairman, RabobankRabobank’s leasing subsidiary De Lage Landen has gone through a period of muscular expansion and growth at a time when many banks are curtailing leasing operations. Moerland has put faith in DLL and its leader Ronald Slaats and demonstrated to the wider banking community the profit to be gained from a well supported leasing business.
P Oudea Frederic Oudea
chief executive, Société GénéraleOudéa took over the reins at Société Générale immediately before the global financial crash and has successfully steered the bank through the subsequent maelstrom.
The determination to continue controlled growth of SGEF and maintain its global footprint rests with Oudéa.
Kai Ostermann
chairman, Deutsche LeasingOstermann has sat on the Deutsche Leasing board for six years and has been instrumental in cementing the global firm’s place as one of leasing top entities.
With a secure funding base from its savings bank owners in Germany and a cautious risk strategy, Deutsche Leasing more than doubled its profit in 2011.
K Ostermann
M Oxby Mike Oxby
director of asset finance, Santander UKOxby has considerable experience in the UK leasing industry having previously held senior roles at Lombard and Key Equipment Finance before taking the reins at Santander in 2010 with a mandate to develop the Spanish bank’s UK leasing operation.
In 2012, Oxby joined the Leasing Foundation as a governor.
Muradyan Oleg
president, VEB LeasingVEB Leasing more than doubled its profits from 2010 to 2011 and jumped from 17th in the Leaseurope ranking to number eight in the same period.
As the leader of one of the largest leasing firms in what is soon to be the largest leasing market in Europe, if Oleg’s influence is not felt yet it surely will be soon.
Françoise Palle-Guillabert
director general, Association Française des Sociétés FinanciairesAs the director general of the French trade body for the financial services industry, Palle-Guillabert represents the French leasing market on the European and world stage. Palle-Guillabert has held the position for the past four years, during which French bank-owned lessors have dominated the European industry.
R Peterson Robert Peterson
director of marketing and strategy, ABN AMRO Lease and IFLA presidentA vocal participant in the European leasing industry, Peterson has been responsible for strategy at Dutch lessor ABN AMRO Lease for the past four years. However, it is for his role as president of the International Finance and Leasing Association (IFLA) that he was nominated in this list. Peterson has been active in the global leasing organisation, which seeks to pool experience and share best practice in the leasing industry, for the past three years and assumed the presidency this year.
Carol Roberts
managing director, Bibby LeasingRoberts has been active in the European leasing industry for decades, during which she has held several senior roles including managing director of GE Capital’s asset finance division. Roberts has led the leasing business of Bibby Financial Services for the past eight years and is an active member of the international leasing community.
Arnaldo Rodriguez
president, international division, CSI LeasingBased in Spain and head of the international division of CSI Leasing, Rodriguez is responsible for the US firm’s growth in the European market as well across Latin America and Asia. Previously heading up the company’s South American operations, Rodriguez was nominated for his “deep knowledge” of international leasing and his work to expand the industry across emerging markets.
J Salonen Jukka Salonen
chief executive, Nordea FinanceAs chairman of Leaseurope from 2010 to 2012, Salonen has been credited with bringing forward a series of initiatives centred on key issues such as Basel III and lease accounting changes and developing the trade body’s research capability.
As chief executive of Nordea Finance for the past five years, Salonen has also led the company to top-ten status in Europe.
Stephen Sklaroff
chairman, Finance & Leasing AssociationSklaroff has led the UK’s leasing trade body since 2007 and lobbied at UK and European level on behalf of the industry. In recent months he has successfully campaigned for the inclusion of leasing products in UK government credit schemes and set up a professional qualification for the leasing industry.
S Sklaroff
D Soper Derek Soper
chairman, IAA-AdvisoryWith more than 50 years in the leasing industry, Soper boasts a wealth of experience which he continues to apply through advisory work and share with the profession through active participation with industry bodies and at trade events. He helped to establish the Captives Forum and, along with Andrew Denton, co-founded the Leasing Foundation.
Soper was nominated in the poll for his “astonishing depth of knowledge and experience.”
Ronald Slaats
chief executive, De Lage LandenAt the helm of one of global leasing’s most successful bank-owned networks, Slaats’s strategic nous has led to significant profit growth and geographic expansion for De Lage Landen.
At a time when other leasing firms plough a more conservative furrow, DLL has gained recognition for its green policies and innovative products. Slaats also sits on the Leaseurope board as vice-chairman.
R Slaats
C Sullivan Chris Sullivan
chief executive of UK corporate banking, RBSAs head of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s corporate business, Sullivan has ultimate responsibility for its Lombard leasing subsidiary.
Sullivan began his career at Lombard straight from school, working his way up to become chief executive and is credited with growing the business to the position it holds today.
Sullivan is a patron and governor of the Leasing Foundation.
Kirill Tsarev
deputy director, Sberbank Leasing and United Leasing Association presidentRussia will soon be the biggest leasing market in Europe and Tsarev has been credited more than any other in the profession with building the Russian leasing market into what it is today. He was a driving force in establishing the country’s leasing association and currently leads one of its biggest leasing firms. One nominator said Tsarev has done more than any other individual in developing the Russian leasing industry.
Frank Witter
chairman, Volkswagen Financial ServicesWitter has led the finance arm of the German automotive manufacturer for the past four years, during which the company has grown to become one of the top lessors in Europe by business volume.
With a strong capital position and a 50% ownership of fleet lessor LeasePlan, the influence of VWFS and its leadership over the European fleet market is considerable.
T vd Werve Tanguy van de Werve
director general, LeaseuropeAs director general of Europe’s leasing trade body for the past six year’s, Van de Werve lobbies globally on behalf of the leasing industry and has been instrumental in coordinating industry responses to lease accounting changes and the Basel accords.
As one nominator expressed it, Van de Werve is “the voice of the industry”.
Mark Venus
head of recovery and resolution planning BNP Paribas and chairman of Leaseurope’s accounting committeeAs chairman of Leaseurope’s accounting committee, Venus has vehemently defended the interests of the leasing industry in the face of international accounting standard changes.Venus has held several senior positions with French bank BNP Paribas, including international development director and then finance director of its leasing division.
M Venus
External Forces
M Draghi Mario Draghi
president, European Central BankIn his first year in office Draghi has overseen one of the most trying times for the European Central Bank, issuing two huge hundred-billion euro loans to Europe’s banking industry and coming under fire for the central bank’s bond buying programme. With seven years of his presidency remaining, how Draghi manages the eurozone crisis will have significant impact on the economic confidence of Europe.
Wayne Byre
general secretary of the Basel committee on banking supervisionAppointed in 2011, Byre, nominally at least, leads the committee which set the Basel accords on bank capital adequacy. Real influence and power lies with the committee itself, however, which is made up of the central bank heads of 27 major economies. The Basel III regulation, which was first announced in 2010, is scheduled to come into force gradually from 2013 and be fully implemented by 2018.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime minister of TurkeyAs Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003, Erdogan has overseen the stable and strong growth of the Turkish economy and has been praised by the World Bank for his economic reforms which have reduced debt, increased employment and grown the level of foreign investment in the country. As investment in Turkey has risen it has become an increasingly important leasing market and is likely to continuing growing in future.
H Hoogervorst Hans Hoogervorst
chairman, International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)Since taking over the chairmanship of the IASB in the summer of 2011, Hoogervorst has overseen the lease accounting project in conjunction with the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which is due to be released for a second time in draft form early in the new year. Hoogervorst also manages the negotiations between the standard-setters and representatives of the leasing industry such as Leaseurope. He recently criticised the leasing industry for over-lobbying.
Angela Merkel
Chancellor of GermanyAs the ultimate head of Europe’s largest economy Merkel’s influence on the European leasing industry is hard to overstate.
Only through her can the future of Europe’s economic union be made secure and with it the investment confidence necessary to grow the leasing market.
A Merkel
Alexei Kudrin and Anton Siluanov
former and current Russian finance ministerAs Russia’s finance minster from 2000 to 2011, Alexei Kudrin adopted a prudent approach to fiscal policy and is credited with securing the strong growth in the Russian economy during his tenure, which was mirrored by growing leasing investment in the country. His successor Siluanov’s stewardship of the economy will have an impact on the strength of the European leasing market.
Claude Turmes
Green MEP for Luxembourg and rapporteur of the Renewable Energy DirectiveTurmes is credited with the successful adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive by EU member states. The directive has led to the massive surge in investment in renewable energy projects which the leasing industry has been in place to fund. With key targets sets for 2020, it’s a trend that will continue.
D Tusk Donald Tusk
Prime Minister of PolandTusk has led Poland for the past five years, during which he has sought close economic ties with other EU nations and pursued a free-market economic policy which has attracted foreign investment.
During his premiership Poland’s economic growth has helped to develop a strong leasing industry, growing 14% in 2011.