‘Embrace challenges from your board,’ says Young Director of the Year 2019

Director of the Year Awards Oliver North

Every day in the approach to Christmas, we’ll speak to winners from the recent finals of IoD Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Oliver North, managing director of O&H Vehicle Technology, who won the Young category

North was appointed MD of ambulance manufacturer O&H Vehicle Technology in January 2019. Within seven months he completed a management buyout with the help of business partner Ken Davy. The former army mechanic previously led fire-engine manufacturer Rosenbauer UK for more than a decade.

Who has been your biggest inspiration? “My son, Oscar. My desire to provide for him – and also to demonstrate the value of integrity, professionalism and a strong work ethic – keeps me focused.”

How do you ensure good governance at a fast-growing company? “Invite and embrace challenges from your board colleagues. And, if your company doesn’t conform to ISO 9001 as a minimum, change that. The standard provides an excellent ‘train track’ to help you maintain good practice.”

What has been the toughest challenge you have surmounted? “Leaving a high-performing company with world-class people to repair every part of a broken organisation and make it better than my previous one. Leaving the path of least resistance always leads me to a higher degree of fulfilment.”

How do you come up with your best ideas? “When I run and push myself, it effectively forces my brain to meditate. I can beat the pain and then achieve clarity from this different perspective, which is usually better than when I’m at my desk.”


Entries are now open for the 2020 IoD Director of the Year Awards – click here for more info and to nominate


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Director magazine

Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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