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Murray takes to the wheel

Tuesday 27 November 2012 6:00

The North East’s largest motor retail group, Benfield has announced the appointment of Gerard Murray as group finance director.

The 49-year-old will join Benfield in January from South Tyneside-based healthcare plc Immunodiagnostics Systems Holdings (IDS).

Murray’s Benfield move will see him return to a sector in which he has a considerable wealth of experience in having been involved at both Reg Vardy and vehicle hire group Northgate.

The economics graduate and chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen was formerly the youngest finance director of a quoted company, aged 27, having been part of the executive team that floated Reg Vardy.

He helped to drive Reg Vardy’s expansion to become the second largest motor retail group in the UK.

He later served as group FD at Darlington-based Northgate plc, as a key member of its executive team which developed the FTSE 350 company into the largest commercial vehicle flexible rental provider in Europe

He has also had a number of non-executive roles including a spell as a governor of the University of Sunderland.

Murray said: “It is particularly pleasing for me to be returning to the motor trade at this time and I am genuinely excited about the challenges this will bring. I am also very much looking forward to helping Benfield develop and expand its business and undoubted industry leading credentials and brand development work.”

Benfield chief executive Mark Squires said the appointment would consolidate the group’s executive team following the appointment earlier this year of Neville Gaukroger in the new role of strategic development director.

“This is a key appointment which demonstrates our strategic intent and aspiration to deliver our company vision to become one of the best in our industry,” he said.

Benfield was founded in Newcastle in 1957 by John Squires Senior and developed by John Squires Junior, the present chairman.