Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director at Mazda UK, has become the latest Patron and Gold member to join the Automotive 30% Club. Dedicated to help steer the direction of the Club in order to achieve a minimum of 30 per cent representation of diverse women in key leadership roles by 2030, the Patron membership alongside Mazda’s Gender Balance Initiative is another progressive step towards achieving this aim and driving industry change.
Recognising that change needs to filter down from the very highest level, the Gender Balance Initiative was introduced earlier this year and is comprised of CEOs, Managing Directors and senior leaders from leading dealership groups within Mazda’s UK network to collectively address and tackle the gender balance across the automotive industry. With the cohort influencing 53 Mazda dealer points, or 44 per cent of the brand’s UK dealer network and continuing to grow, the collaborative group aims to share valuable learnings to build successful gender-balanced businesses, while influencing other dealership groups to rethink representation and culture within their own dealerships across all the brands they represent.
“Our engagement with the Automotive 30% Club dates back some years and I am delighted that Mazda UK was the first OEM to achieve the critical first-step milestone of a 30 per cent gender balance in our senior team; something that re-set expectations and fundamentally changed the internal culture of our business, leading the way for better diversity and a more progressive working environment that is now seen as a benchmark for our European organisation” explains Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director at Mazda UK.
Adding, “With the dramatic changes in working practices and consumer engagement since 2020 – many of which I am certain will endure – I sense that the timing has never been better to turbo-charge our actions to achieve a permanent and long-overdue balance across our workforce in every aspect, but particularly in gender representation. We must invest more in introducing the auto sector to women who perhaps would not have considered it, nurture and sponsor our internal talent and be bold in removing the remaining obstacles.”
“Nowhere in the sector is the issue more prevalent and deep-rooted than at the dealer/retailers. Particularly in the car sales functions, operational management and dealer owner/investor areas, the imbalance is particularly poor with just 4 per cent of Dealer Principal and 11 per cent of Sales Executive roles filled by women (2022 Mazda survey of the industry). Not only is this grossly unfair, but it damages the image of all manufacturer dealerships, and manufacturer brands, with our mutual customers whose values, gender mix and expectations are simply not met when they visit the UK’s 4,500 franchised outlets.”
Concluding, “Changing this is my passion and I am delighted to strengthen further my connections with the 30% Club. Last year we developed a unique concept with a mass-recruitment of Mazda dealers to the Club, co-funded and supported by Mazda UK. This cohort now represents over 50 per cent of UK sales volume and because the actions we persuade them to take should be brand agnostic, they have the potential to reach over 700 multi-franchise dealer points in their respective Groups. I hope to amplify the message of the Club, but more importantly to continue to make meaningful, practical steps in achieving its ambitions.”
Julia Muir, CEO of Gaia Innovation and founder of the Automotive 30% Club, commented: “It is my great pleasure to announce that one of our Automotive 30% Club founder members, Jeremy Thomson MD of Mazda UK, has accepted my invitation to become a Patron and Gold member of the Club. Having known Jeremy for several years, he was one of the first industry leaders I approached over six years ago to discuss the idea of starting the campaign to build gender-balanced businesses in the UK automotive sector by increasing diverse female representation, and he was present at the launch of the Club in March 2016. Over many years he has established an inclusive culture at Mazda UK, and he and Retail Operations Director, Laura Brailey, are now adopting a ground-breaking approach to supporting the Mazda dealers to Change the Game in their businesses. Jeremy and Laura will be hugely valuable additions to our Patron group.”