Q&A: Jeff Schlesinger — What’s next for LeasePlan?
Source: Fleet Management Weekly
Q. Tell us about the transformation underway at LeasePlan.
A. LeasePlan USA is being transformed from a company that looked exclusively at large, global, corporate fleets to other adjacencies to the fleet market.
The core of the core of our product is providing fleet management services to the large global fleet; and we also believe our reach and products are attractive to corporate fleets of all sizes. In addition, we are looking at the entire mobility model as a long-term addition to the corporate space. It is important to understand where future generations will impact the industry and prepare for the next five-to-ten years.
LeasePlan Europe has already started its transformation; and globally the mantra is "One LeasePlan." The company is centralizing a lot of key functions from commercial to operations to IT everyone is viewing this as one LeasePlan whether you are sitting in the United States or an office in Europe, Mexico or South America.
As we move forward with products and services, there is an understanding that what we offer in Europe is not necessarily a simple export to the United States. There are certain macro-economic effects in the United States that are not present in Europe and vice versa. As we look at products that are being developed in Europe, we need to understand whether they are acceptable in the U.S.13
Q. What are your clients' chief concerns right now and how are you addressing them?
A. Our customers are always concerned about costs, but it is the next generation of products and services that they would really like to focus on. The one thing that LeasePlan will be doing over the next several years is being proactive in offering new products and services, not only in the corporate fleet space, but in potential adjacencies. The one-driver, one-car may be the old model. The process of getting a product, service or salesperson into a face-to-face meeting with the customer doesn't necessarily need to be a one-driver, one-car model.
Q. Let's talk more about mobility management and the future of fleet.
A. Mobility in the United States and mobility in Europe are very different. LeasePlan in Europe recently entered a partnership with Uber; the first fleet management company to team with a global mobility company. We are looking to expand that relationship to other parts of the world. There are other mobility companies, ridesharing, ride-hailing companies that are new to the market that we are looking to develop a relationship with and we are discussing on how LeasePlan's footprint could overlay with their business model to give a full mobility solution to our customer.
Q. How are you helping fleets with fleet safety?
A. You can never do too much for fleet safety. One of the first things that I did was reach out and understand our safety program and we are doing a complete deep dive on our entire program. I have written many articles about distracted driving and we are in the process of a wing-to-wing solution for fleet safety for every driver that is a part of the LeasePlan family.
Q. What's next for LeasePlan?
A. One of the things that I hear is that LeasePlan USA is for sale. It is just the opposite and we are speaking internally about the long-term plans for LeasePlan as the global provider for international customers, with more than 32 countries represented with LeasePlan business cars. We are the only fleet management company that has a global footprint with One LeasePlan; which is incredibly important to our customers and very valuable to our vendors. We look at global customers on a global basis, and I work closely and carefully with all the country managers and the international commercial leaders to ensure that we are presenting a single point of contact and a one face, one LeasePlan to every customer.
We are a 54-year-old company that is looking to the future. We have a new logo; we have a new slogan – "What's Next?" that says it all. What is next? And that is what we are looking at. We are looking at the best proactive way of approaching corporate fleet management, products and services and fleet mobility.