Nikki King OBE is the first female Managing Director of a commercial vehicle manufacturer in the UK.
Her quick rise to the top position within truck manufacturing firm Isuzu Truck (UK) Ltd followed an eight year career break to raise a family, prior to which she had no intention of shattering the industry mould.
“My ex-husband left me when I was 40, when I was a secretary, and I had to go to work,” she said, “it was never my ambition to be where I am today. Initially, I was driven by the need to work and then I started to enjoy it.”
Within seven years of starting at a Ford dealership, Nikki had worked her way up to Managing Director. She then became National Fleet Sales Director at Lex Plc and, in 1996, was appointed by Lex to set up a distributorship for Isuzu Motors of Japan, one of the world’s largest truck manufacturers when it decided to enter the UK market. Nikki finally led the company in a successful management buyout in 2004.
Nikki, commanded a staff of 52 and an annual turnover of £48 million, with a 50 dealership network of distributors. She speaks six languages – including Japanese – and was awarded the OBE for services to the road transport industry in the 2002 New Years Honours List.
She is also a member of a various voluntary organisations and charity groups, such as the Cyrenians, which supports homeless young people, and the Lords’ Taverners Charity, which generates funds for disabled children.
“I took it one step at a time,” she said, “you can start a new career at 40 years old – it’s never too late – it’s just a question of confidence. The life skills I’ve learnt as a mum have seen me really working well in a man’s world.”
In 2013, she withdrew as CEO to become a honorary chairwoman.
The Award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Nikki in recognition of her contribution, vision and leadership in the area of business.