Nikki is an extraordinarily charismatic businesswoman who has risen to the top of her profession, in a business sector traditionally dominated by men, through her sheer talent and determination.
Trucks and women don’t appear to be a natural combination and certainly not to Isuzu Motors, the Japanese company that makes the world-renowned trucks. Japanese executives were expecting to meet their UK male counterpart in Tokyo in 1996 when Nikki stepped off the plane in his place. She proved a knowledgeable and very able negotiating partner, while showing her considerable ability to drive a truck as well as any man. Such was the confusion of her Japanese hosts, that to celebrate the company’s deal to enter into the UK market, they took the very feminine Nikki to a transgender nightclub, just in case they’d made a mistake with Mrs, or Mr King.
Nikki is renowned as a leading force and spokesperson for her industry, campaigning for safety improvements to roadside recovery procedures and having held many prominent positions on industry boards. She returned to work part-time at the age of 35, having taken an eight year career break in order to raise her family. When her husband left the family five years later, she began working full time again and since then has constantly confounded the perceived wisdom of ‘glass ceilings’ and the perception of a woman at the very top in a man’s world.
Nikki has achieved her success through her outstanding leadership and interpersonal skills, developing close working relationships with her staff and dealerships at every level. She has a passion for customer care, for which the company has won several awards.
In 2002 Nikki was awarded the OBE for services to the road transport industry. She was patron of The Cyrenians, a charity that provides support to housing homeless young people and she is a member of the Lady Taverners Charity which generates funds for disabled children. She was instrumental in the creation of RISC, the Recovery Industry Support Charity, and in 2007 Nikki was awarded a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the European Tow show, which was followed by another Lifetime Achievement Award at the First Women Awards in 2009. The First Women Awards recognise women who are pioneers in business and individuals who are helping to remove historical barriers. Nikki is also a business mentor for The Prince’s Trust.
Nikki was given a special Service to Industry Award at the Motor Transport Awards 2012, for her outstanding contribution to the road transport industry.
In 2012 Nikki was appointed as a non-Executive Director to the board of Catch 22 Social Enterprises and its offshoot Auto 22. The charity works with helping young people to improve their lives. Auto 22 is a professional garage project where young people are employed as apprentices to gain qualifications alongside top technicians. The first successful garage opened in Gravesend, Kent and two more followed in 2012, in Paddock Wood and Gillingham. Nikki is intending to expand Auto 22 nationwide.
In 2010 Nikki received an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University for her work in inspiring women in industry and producing exemplary customer service.
She’s come a long way from being a divorced mother of three. When she returned to work, she began as a secretary and worked her way up the corporate ladder to become the National Fleet Sales Director for Lex. In the short space of just fifteen years after her return to work, Nikki signed the deal with Isuzu Truck (UK) Ltd. In her role as Managing Director she has built a leading-edge distribution network and has made customer service the cornerstone of the company. Since a management buyout in 2004, Nikki has led the company to the successful multi- million pound business it is today.
Nikki lives in Kent, has three grown up children and one very spoilt Akita dog, Storm, which she claims understands Japanese, one of the six languages she speaks.