Saturday, 26 May 2012

Leaving Porsche

During the next six months my relationship with Ed Peter at Porsche AG continued to worsen for no apparent reason other than my friendship with John Aldington and Hans-Peter Porsche who always took a personal interest in what we were doing with Porsche AG. Throughout this period, it was made perfectly clear to the majority shareholder, RBH and my fellow partners, that I (Alan Giddins) was a “trouble maker” and needed to be “eased out of the business”, which I had Founded.
After considerable deliberation, I decided to bow to the increasing pressure from Porsche AG and resign. I gave all of my partners three months’ notice, which would allow them to find someone to take over my duties. The last thing I wanted to do was to leave a gap in the business so everyone agreed the time frame. 
I met Herbert Layda during one of his visits and told him I knew Ed Peter was behind this all and he tacitly agreed he was. I also warned him that the business would not survive if they thought RBH could manage it on his own!
During this period, I set about establishing a new Intergraph based Service Company called AL Khaleej Service Bureau (as an offshore Exempt Company), digitising maps and drawings for large industrial customers throughout the region, including Saudi Aramco the world’s largest oil company. I arranged $2million funding and we ordered a $1million Intergraph system and set-up right next door to the Porsche showroom in the Noor Building (sub consciously to keep an eye on things). 
I am not sure if my leaving prompted Bob and Rob as well, but we all sold our shares at the same time to RBH and he took over the entire business 100% and unfortunately the daily management. From that time onwards, things went progressively downhill. 
Rob had told me that RBH was just too difficult to deal with and all he did was interfere and give massive discounts to their customers. An example of this was they had done a complete respray on a customer Porsche 928S, which was billed at BD850/- and RBH just, cut it by 50%. Well this was the writing on the wall for me and I did try to intercede and ask Rashid about this, but he said he could do what he liked with his own company! 
The showroom was leased but never occupied and no Porsche car ever crossed its doors, but the sign was up outside for over one year after I left. RBH got into serious difficulties and the business failed to make any money under his management and it loses kept on mounting. He eventually sold the business for a very nominal sum, to Bebehani & Sons, who are the VW - Audi dealer, who are now the Porsche Importer today. I later found out to my utter amazement that RBH sold the entire company, its goodwill, stock and assets for BD15, 000/- (less than £25,000)!
Throughout this period, RBH was besotted with a British ex-Gulf Air girl called Andrea and he spent an absolute fortune on her in the £100’s of thousands of pounds. When HRH Prince Andrew purchased an engagement ring for Fergie in London, RBH flew in and purchased a more expensive one for Andrea from the same jewellers! He let her drive one of his Porsche cars around town sporting the registration number 21, his own private number, which he also had on his own Porsche 930 turbo as well as his 911 Carrera Targa, and was an embarrassment to his wider family. It all ended in tears for RBH and Andrea eventually ran off to Australia with some other younger man, but they say, that is another story!
I was extremely disappointed at the way events turned out, and I guess Ed Peter had a lot to answer for, as he was the man behind pushing me out of the business. Everyone knew that RBH was not a manager and Porsche AG made a rod for their own back by pushing me out. 
Looking back in hindsight, if I had not seen Intergraph and had some new challenge to concentrate my efforts on, I would have stood my ground and not resigned and Ed Peter would have had to get on with me. 
At that time I took the view that Porsche AG management could influence the partners unduly and therefore as the Bahraini Company was solely Porsche, I did what I thought was best for the Company at that time. Ed Peter had won and got me out of the business for whatever reason he had. However, he indirectly wrecked the business in the process with his petty and personal demands.
I flew over to London to see John Aldington after my decision to leave and I was dumbfounded to find out from him that he was having a massive dispute with certain members of the senior management of Porsche AG himself. I think this was also Peter Schutz & Ed Peter behind it. 
John I knew was totally honest and a man of high principals and integrity. Although he did not go into matters in any great depth with me, he gave Porsche AG an ultimatum and as time passed, they would not shift their position. John told me he was not going to compromise his honesty, integrity and principals even for Porsche AG, so he resigned as Managing Director of Porsche Cars Great Britain Limited, sold up his shares and got out.
Peter Bulbeck was appointed Managing Director of Porsche Cars Great Britain shortly after.
There were a number of questions over the role Peter Schutz had played in my downfall backing Ed Peter and it turned out Mr Schutz did not really do a such good job at Porsche AG and he lost his own job shortly after!

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