Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Paul Philpott

President & CEO: Kia Motors UK Ltd

Paul Philpott graduated with a degree in Banking And Finance in 1988. In his profile he discusses his career in banking and finance, and moving into the Motor industry - where he now works as the President and CEO of Kia Motors UK.

Why did you choose to study Banking and Finance at Loughborough University?

I was sponsored by Midland Bank to complete this degree; the ability to combine practical work experience with a major high street bank (and get paid!) with an interesting, varied course seemed like a good option.

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

I spent a fantastic three years with like-minded people, enjoying everything Loughborough had to offer, and this set me up for my career in Automotive.  I learnt how to interact with people from diverse backgrounds with different outlooks.

How did your extra-curricular activities impact upon your Loughborough experience?

Getting my degree was only about half of what I learnt at Loughborough.  The rest was learnt through the broadest range of experiences possible - from a parachute jump in Fresher’s week, to trying my hand at every sport imaginable, purple nasty, rag week, and learning to lead and inspire as Towers Hall Chairman!  I have so many memorable experiences.

I lived in Towers Hall for all three years at Loughborough because I liked the people and the food, and Towers became the centre of my university life. As a ‘banker’ I became Hall Treasurer in my second year, and in my final year I became Hall Chairman. I learnt a lot about leading teams and getting others to participate.

Can you tell us more about your earlier career working within the motor industry, how did your degree map onto this area of work?

My background in finance and financial management has been invaluable (the Kia Finance men can’t run rings round me!), but towards the end of my degree, I realised that sales & marketing was the career discipline I wanted to follow.  So with my Loughborough degree (much sought after even in 1988). I joined the Graduate Development programme at Ford Motor Company, and the rest, as they say, is history!

As President and CEO of Kia Motors UK and Ireland, what are your main responsibilities? How do these differ from your role as COO Kia Motors Europe?

As CEO of Kia Motors UK and Ireland I am responsible for the sales of new Kia cars, parts and accessories and the delivery of an outstanding experience for our customers.  I am responsible for delivering a financial return for our shareholders in Korea and an appropriate profit for our 190 franchised dealers. 

As COO for Europe (2009-2012) I looked after the Kia operations in 27 markets, ensuring that their sales performance was sustainable and always above plan. 

What have been the highlights and key achievements of your career so far?

Leading a three-fold increase in Kia’s business over the past ten years, and being recognised as Autocar’s Outstanding UK Leader of 2017.

How did it feel to be recognised with a range of accolades for your work?

Of course it’s great to be recognised for success, but most of the awards we have won are down to the team.  Our business is all about people, and it is the work of all of our people that has been recognised. 

What does the future hold for you?

Who knows?  I am happy doing what I’m doing right now; working with a great group of people, achieving record business results, and at the same time watching our two children grow and prosper – maybe one day they will go to Loughborough too.

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