5 minutes with… Oliver Larkin
Oliver has worked in the Automotive industry for over 30 years including spells abroad at SEAT in Barcelona and at Volkswagen’s HQ in Wolfsburg, Germany. For 15 years Oliver was in the Investor Relations team working with the CEO and the Board to explain the Group’s strategy to financial investors and analysts around the world, frequently visiting facilities on 4 continents, including China where Volkswagen is the largest automotive company. Oliver has been based back in the UK for the last year at Volkswagen Group UK in Milton Keynes as Head of Group Corporate and Public Relations.
How long have you been in the industry?
Since 1987 when I joined Ford. After 4 years with Ford I spent a year or so away before I moved to SEAT in Barcelona in 1994. I came back to the UK to join Bentley in 1998 as one of the first Volkswagen Group employees to join after Volkswagen bought the company. I then moved down to Milton Keynes to become the CFO of Volkswagen Group UK before spending the next 15 years travelling the world as part of Investor Relations for Volkswagen AG, including two stints based in Germany, the second from 2016 to 2019 as Global Head of the team.
More recently I moved to my current role in the summer of 2019 as Head of Group Corporate and Public Relations for Volkswagen Group UK. All told that’s about 30 years talking an managing all things car related!
How would you describe your typical day?
One of the first things I do is to scan what’s going on the world overnight – and adjust my plans if needed. I keep in close contact with the PR Heads of the volume brands and help to coordinate common themes across the business.
I also take care of the social media platforms for the Group functions as well as steering global stories into our internal platforms.
My main task though is to promote especially our electric agenda: through presentations, seminars, speeches either personally or feeding into other management.
Inevitably SKYPE, as well as Zoom and MS Teams dominate certain days.
What keeps you up at night?
Apart from our two dogs, if there is a busy day coming up and something new has appeared. Maybe it’s not connected but needs to time to manage and it’s a juggle to fit it all in. Experience has taught me not to panic – we will always find a way!
What do you think will be the biggest difference 10 years from now?
The choice to drive connected and autonomously – especially on motorways. And it will be electric – that’s for sure. We will notice the change in noise from the move to electric cars and I hope our homes will become more efficient with improved solar cells and green electricity from wind.