Steve Gawne is the managing director of Visteon UK. He was behind “Project Protea” and “Project Kennedy”, the secret schemes to run down the Visteon plants from 2007 onwards.
He set up a new car parts company only seven weeks before the Basildon factory closed. Gawne was made a director of the company, Automotive Products, on 4 February.
The company is registered to Visteon’s offices in Endeavour Drive, Basildon.
The new firm’s managing director is Eric Sachs, the vice president, treasurer and chief tax officer of Visteon International Holdings Inc.
Visteon claims Automotive Products is “a potential holding company for tax planning purposes”.
Tax planning is business speak for tax avoidance. This is normally exploited by companies with extra cash that they want to avoid being taxed on. Why is a supposedly bankrupt company setting up a means for storing surplus cash?
The sole owner of the £100,000 share capital of Automotive Products is Visteon International Holdings.
This is only one of Gawne’s many interests.
He is also a director of Visteon Charleville in France, Visteon Engineering and Visteon Engineering Services Pension Trustees Limited.
He has been a director of R-Tek Limited, a Visteon company, and the Visteon Pensions Trustees Limited. He is a director of Linamar Automotive Systems, which is not a Visteon company but which bought the Swansea Visteon plant in 2007.
It is not just his number of directorships that is of interest, but how the various parts of the company operate.
For instance, Gawne is also a director of a company called Reydel Ltd.
This Visteon-owned company filed accounts in 2007, which managed to show a turnover of zero and a profit of £396,000.
He is a director of Infinitive Speech Systems UK Limited, another Visteon company, which had a turnover of £204,000 and a pre-tax profit of £1,313,000 in 2007.
Finally, he is a director of Oritech Limited that doesn’t seem to have managed either a turnover or a profit.
It is a sign of great business acumen to run companies that have profits higher than their turnover.