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13 March 2013

LeasePlan celebrates its 50th anniversary

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LeasePlan, the global leader in corporate vehicle fleet management, celebrates a significant jubilee this year. It was founded fifty years ago in 1963 by entrepreneur Anton Goudsmit in Amsterdam, Kingdom of the Netherlands. Today, the company operates in thirty countries across five continents, employs more than 6,000 people and has a vehicle fleet that numbers approximately 1.3 million. The company has also provided services in the Czech Republic since 1996. And it is this Czech trail that is very significant in the 50-year history of LeasePlan.

The arrival of LeasePlan in the Czech Republic already in itself triggered a revolution in the domestic lease market. At the time nobody here essentially knew anything about professional vehicle fleet management, or motor vehicle operative leasing. When companies needed vehicles, in principle, they only had two options – purchase them for cash or by way of financial leasing. Then out of the blue LeasePlan came onto the scene and said "It is not necessary to buy the vehicles, we shall lease them to you for a pre-agreed period, and we shall additionally provide comprehensive care for them". This was not the only innovation. While the majority of the lease companies restricted their services to specific brands, LeasePlan was capable of financing any vehicle available within the market.

The LeasePlan offer won great acclaim in the Czech Republic and it was soon clear that the Czech branch would be the first successful venture of the company in the countries of the former Soviet bloc. The work done by the Czech managers did not go unnoticed by headquarters. Several personalities from the Czech branch were given an opportunity to use their skills abroad, whether at the LeasePlan headquarters in Almere, Kingdom of the Netherlands, or at any of its branches. The founder and, at the same time, the first and current general manager of the Czech branch, Jaromír Hájek, headed the Italian branch for almost five years. Experts from the Czech Republic also had a lion's share in the start-up of branches in Slovakia and Romania.

It is significant that Czech skills will also be used in building the new 31st branch, which should open in Russia this year. The current finance manager of the Czech branch, Martin Brix, will travel to Moscow to share the experience he acquired during the start-up of the Romanian branch. And LeasePlan shall thus, thanks to him, write a further significant chapter in its highly successful 50-year history.

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