Kevin Fitzpatrick, Vice President for UK Manufacturing at Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd
As one of the original 22 supervisors hired to launch production at Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. in Sunderland, Kevin's Nissan career has seen him rise through the company in line with the plant's growth in scale and importance.
As Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, Kevin is responsible for everything production-related to Nissan Sunderland Plant, the company's biggest European factory. On a day-to-day basis his job is delivering the production volume of vehicles at the required quality levels and at the required cost. As such Kevin coordinates the activities of teams including purchasing, design and logistics, well as his own core responsibilities, to ensure that every function is able to meet their cost commitments on the cars built at Sunderland.
Today his main challenge is to facilitate and encourage cross functional working so that the Sunderland plant can operate at its most cost-effective level. Sunderland is the location for production of Nissan's high volume cars like Qashqai, Juke and Note, as well as the all-electric LEAF. With such a high profile plant supporting 40,000 UK automotive jobs, Kevin is used to hosting senior ministers and dignitaries interested in Nissan's role in the UK.
Every Nissan plant must compete to manufacture any new model and is assessed on the grounds of capability and cost-effectiveness. In addition to delivering company objectives - cars at the right volume at the right cost and at the right quality - Kevin is continually planning and implementing strategies to keep the plant competitive so that it is able to continue to win new cars.
Kevin has worked at Nissan for nearly 30 years and began his career as an apprentice fitter and turner with the Royal Ordnance Factory (R.O.F) in Birtley, UK. He progressed to technician apprentice in 1977 and professional and technology officer in 1982. He was a winner of the Ministry of Defence "Tom Nevard Award" in 1979 whilst with the R.O.F.
In 1982, he left the R.O.F to become an industrial engineer with Huwood Ltd, moving on to production engineer in 1984, before leaving to join Nissan in 1985, to help set up the new manufacturing facility.
His first role at Nissan was as a supervisor within the paint shop. In November 1987, he was promoted to senior supervisor, paint shop, and then to production manager, paint shop, in January 1989. He was appointed plant engineering manager in 1995, facilities engineering manager in 1996, and vehicle quality assurance manager in 1997.
In 1999 he became production manager, trim and chassis, and was appointed general manager, production, in February 2001 with responsibility for vehicle assembly shops and powertrain. Kevin moved to quality assurance in 2003, was promoted to quality assurance director in 2004, before becoming production director in 2005. In April 2007 he became deputy managing director, followed by a promotion in April 2010 to Vice President, Manufacturing UK. He was appointed Managing Director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd in April 2012.
Kevin is a Common Purpose graduate, and a member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology. He is also a Governor of Gateshead College.
Kevin says that the launch of the second generation Nissan Qashqai in 2014 stands out as one of his proudest moments at Nissan. This was the first car launched at such a high volume at Sunderland and is one of Nissan's highest volume cars.
Kevin says one of his most personal memories at Nissan was in 1991 when the Nissan Micra was selected to be produced at Sunderland. This involved the implementation of a second production line and put Sunderland into a "different league" in terms of plant capability.
In Kevin's personal time:
Kevin is married and has two adult sons. In his spare time he likes to go fly fishing.
Kevin's current ride:
Kevin owns a Nissan Qashqai, Nissan LEAF, Nissan Juke, and a Nissan Note - one of each model that is made in Sunderland. His first car was a Hillman Minx.