Not only was the once-proud Jaguar company a part of the catastrophic BL Cars but he was greeted at the gates by the workforce – on strike!
The odds against saving Jaguar were immense. Quality was appalling, the workforce bitter, the management disillusioned and it was hemorrhaging money. The Labour Government had introduced the ‘closed shop’, giving the unions and their militant shop stewards immense power.
This book tells the story of how John Egan gradually overcame the odds and, piece by piece, rebuilt this once great company, winning over the workforce, the suppliers, the overseas dealers and, most important of all, the customers. Working initially with BL Chairman Michael Edwardes, and supported by Margaret Thatcher and her Government, Egan and his team of managers overcame every obstacle, every set-back, every challenge.
Again and again, it looked impossible. Yet using innovative techniques, intelligence, plain speaking, openness, motor racing and much more, they saved this most charismatic of companies which has created some of the finest and most cherished motor cars of all time.
It is an amazing story that will appeal equally to car enthusiasts, those in business, Jaguar devotees and readers interested in social history.
Born in Coventry in 1939, Egan studied petroleum engineering at Imperial College London before signing with Shell in the Middle East. After further studying and a stint at AC Delco, he moved to British Leyland. Egan created Unipart parts division as a strong self-standing business. BL was nationalised in 1975; Egan left the year after to join tractor maker Massey Ferguson.
Egan had drive and utter determination, which helped him overcome the various hurdles facing him at Jaguar Cars, successfully privatising the company in 1984 and turning it into a company which was sold to Ford in 1990 for £1.6billion.
Having successfully revived the company and overseen its sale to Ford for £1.6bn in 1990, Sir John became Chief Executive of the British Airports Authority – a position he held until 1999. He also headed up the construction industry task force, producing the Egan Report, Rethinking Construction, in 1998 and Accelerating Change in 2002. He served as President of the CBI from that date until 2004 when he became Chairman of Severn Trent. Among many other roles, he was Chairman of Inchcape plc, Chairman, and later President, of the London Tourist Board, President of the Institute of Management and is Chancellor of Coventry University.
The story of how Sir John Egan rescued Jaguar, though, is that for which he is best remembered. In his new book “Saving Jaguar”, Sir John tells the story of the British car manufacturer from his own perspective, offering insight into the thought processes and decisions which led it to become the company it is today.
Not only is the book an excellent business case study, but it will appeal to fans of social history and motoring enthusiasts alike.
“Saving Jaguar” by Sir John Egan will be launched on Wednesday 22nd July at Coventry University. For more information on this or other books from the same publisher, visit www.porterpress.co.uk.
Note: This is a press release courtesy of the publishers. A full review of the book will be coming up shortly.