11.01.21 Liveryman John Kendall

Coachlines’ guest editor – a new initiative for 2021

To ring the changes, we have introduced the concept of an occasional guest editor for Coachlines. This month Liveryman John Kendall, Communications Committee Secretary has taken on the mantle.

What do you offer as guest editor this month?

I began work as a freelance motoring journalist in 1988, while working for an automotive consultancy and joined the staff of the weekly commercial vehicle newsstand magazine Commercial Motor in 1990. Since then I have edited car and commercial vehicle magazines, as well as Sailing Today, a yachting magazine and written for a number of magazines and websites here and in the US. More recently, I spent three years as a PR consultant to the PSA Group. I have been lucky enough to work with some of the best of our motoring writers.

When did you join the livery?

In 2007, while Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers, at the suggestion of Hon Asst John Blauth. About seven years ago, PM Mike Callaghan asked me if I would join the Communications Committee. I knew Mike from his days as PR chief at Ford. I’m the committee secretary and do what I can to help out with Livery communications.

Where has your work taken you?

From the UK, to Europe, frequently as well as India, the Arctic Circle and the US. I have been privileged to work as a journalist writing about the automotive sector in the best of times. It’s still exciting today as we watch the dawn of the massive shift to electrical power, which has the potential to trigger a new era in vehicle design. I have interviewed a number of vehicle designers over the years, which is always a highlight of the job.

If you were Master, what would you try to achieve in your year?

The same thorny issue that challenges all recent Masters – how to ensure that the livery remains relevant to young, potential members, balanced with the livery’s traditions. The way we work has changed significantly over the past 40 years. More people are self-employed, we are more dispersed and younger people communicate in different ways to older people. The Master’s approach to events, brought about by the Covid restrictions, could remain relevant in a post-Covid world.

What might you have done if you hadn’t been a journalist?

My passion was music – I should have practised more. I also believed, as a sixth-former in the 1970s, that electronics would play a significant part in the future. If only I had been better at maths!