John Griffin – Chairman
After beginning training as an accountant, John was forced to give up his apprenticeship and focus his efforts on rescuing his father’s business, working as a minicab driver to make ends meet during this period. Having helped his family firm and following the birth of his two sons, John was inspired to start his own business and came to the conclusion that he could run his own minicab business a lot more successfully than the companies he had worked for.
The name Addison Lee was chosen because ‘A’ is always at the top of the phone book. A colleague mentioned to John that people thought his address, Addison Gardens, sounded very posh. John added ‘Lee’ to complete the name and so Addison Lee was born.
Founded in Battersea in 1975 with just one car, Addison Lee now carries 10 million passengers and couriers 1 million deliveries a year.
The secret of Addison Lee’s success lies not only in its commitment to technology but also in the company’s respect for the driver — a principle founded by John’s experiences of the long hours he himself worked as a driver.
Despite its size, Addison Lee is still very much a family company. The two young boys who were John’s inspiration to start the company are now both married with two sons each and sit on the board as John’s fellow directors — Liam Griffin is MD, Kieran is Marketing Director. John’s partner, Daryl Foster, is the son of his original partner Lenny, who sadly died in 1992. Daryl has been with the company since 1977 and is now Chief Executive. John’s nephew, Peter Ingram, as IT Director has controlled and managed some of the most radical technological changes in the transport industry.
Business and the Environment
John has always taken an interest in the wider issues associated with his business. In 1976 John formed the Private Hire Car Association in response to the Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1976. As Chairman of the association,
John was instrumental in helping minicabs transition to a fully-fledged, licensed industry.
John is still chairman of the Private Hire Car Association and is also president of the Private Hire Board.
John has also been appointed a Skills Ambassador for London by the Learning and Skills council, this is in recognition of the work he has done promoting young apprenticeships and supporting training of young people.
John has become an active member of the Green500 — the Mayor of London’s scheme which aims to encourage businesses to cut their carbon emissions. Addison Lee is a leader in this field, and the only double winners of the Green500′s Diamond award.
Entrepreneur of the Year
As an active investor with a keen eye for a good deal, John currently has a number of diverse business interests, and was recently named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Ernst and Young.
Charity and Outside Interests
Alongside heading Addison Lee and his position with the Learning and Skills Council, John supports a number of local schools, charities and youth centres. John is also a member of the Variety Club Golf Society and has sponsored the annual Addison Lee Footballers’ Golf Classic at La Manga Golf Club since 1996, raising thousands for good causes. In 2010 he also became a Member of the Enterprise Fellowship of The Prince’s Trust.