Porsche is the car brand “for those who follow their dreams”, epitomising freedom and independence – and the inner drive to achieve goals. As CEO, Jonathan Mannell spearheads Porsche Cars Great Britain (Porsche Cars GB), a brand which is wholly owned by Porsche AG in Stuttgart. Having devotedly worked his way up the Porsche career ladder over the last 15 years, CEO Monthly magazine now recognises Jonathan for his hard work and outstanding leadership, crowning him ‘Prestige Vehicle Manufacturing CEO of the Year 2022 – UK’. We got in touch with the man himself to learn more about his career and the colossus that is Porsche.
The role of Porsche Cars Great Britain is to embody and exemplify the experience of Porsche to all its dreamers, drivers, and dealers. With 46 Porsche Centres across the UK, including its Porsche Service Centres, the highest standard of sales and aftersales service is guaranteed to customers. The Porsche Centres, and those who work within them, reflect the outstanding quality and cutting-edge technology that only Porsche can offer.
Austrian-German automotive engineer, Ferdinand Porsche founded the Porsche car brand back in 1931, and he is best known for creating the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Auto Union racing car, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/ SSK, among other significant automobiles and technologies.
However, it was Ferdinand’s son, Ferry who was highly instrumental in developing the range of cars that made the Porsche brand famous, starting with the 356 in 1948. Ferry’s mindset back then remains just as relevant into the company’s future, having described Porsche as “the brand for those who follow their dreams”. In response, Jonathan enthuses, “We want to help our customers realise their lifelong dreams. Porsche celebrates all those dreamers who, like Ferry Porsche before them, are fuelled by passion for making their dreams come true.”
For over a decade, Jonathan has been working his way up the levels of Porsche, with this experience having given him a deep, rich insight and appreciation for how all the different parts of the organisation work and how to enable them to work together in the most effective way.
Expressing his passion for the brand, he goes on to say, “I love to talk about our vision – What the brand stands for and what it should look and feel like to our staff, our partners, and customers. This way, we constantly keep alive a sense of honesty, transparency, and commitment to uphold the right level of quality, decision making, and direction that everyone can buy into and understand the context of their contribution to.”
Jonathan believes that Porsche Cars GB is truly a great place to work, as reflected through low staff churn and high average length of service. By placing value in the people that make up the Porsche family, the company’s people in turn value being part of it. At the foundation of this robust team is an internal culture that consists of four core values.
The first is what Germans call ‘herzblut’, meaning ‘heart and soul’. It’s the spirit of Porsche that drives the team.
Second, it is one family. Despite the size and recognition of the brand, the team is small enough to feel like one family who share a common passion.
Third is having the same pioneering spirit that Ferry Porsche had, which made him do things differently and pursue his own path towards his dream.
Fourth is the team’s sporting and competitive spirit that make them love a challenge and the familiar feeling of winning the race!
Ultimately, Jonathan loves “communicating, motivating, exciting, inspiring, and leading such a great team”. He adds, “As long as I can keep doing that, then I will be happy and fulfilled! There’s nothing like new challenges and opportunities to sharpen, test, and refine those skills!
Among new opportunities, Porsche has discovered, like many businesses, that it could work just as or more efficiently by giving more flexibility and freedom to its teams. This had a really positive and evolutionary impact on the organisational structure, culture, and approach to work and collaboration.
And challenges are indeed a reality at Porsche, just like any other company, too. It may be a huge global brand, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have its own hurdles to jump – including the current global volatility which has taken its toll on the company’s production capability, product availability, and lead times.
Meanwhile, the car manufacturer was expecting Brexit to be a significant challenge, but it was well prepared, and, whilst it has added complexity to its operations, the company has managed to stay on top of it. Then, covid and forced recession looked like they would be hugely detrimental, but they actually had the opposite effect. Alongside all this, there is the war in Europe and supply chain issues which couldn’t have been predicted, but Porsche has been gradually finding its way through and has come out on the other side stronger.
Jonathan comments, “I couldn’t be more proud of the adaptability, agility, and commitment from all the team to have not only sustained the business but enabled it to grow significantly through all these challenges.”
Indeed, while these difficulties have tried to throw a spanner in the works for Porsche over the last couple of years, it has amazingly seen a noticeable increase in demand for its products, with Jonathan delightedly saying, “2022 was a record year for Porsche and 2023 will break them all again.”
He goes on to tell us more about what the future of Porsche entails: “Our product line continues to excite and create desire to be a part of our brand story. There are more exciting new cars and technology to come, along with opportunities to experience and engage with Porsche.”
For business enquiries, contact Jonathan Mannell from Porsche Cars Great Britain Ltd on their website – www.porsche.com/uk