Tobermore man in the ‘driving seat’ at Ford

Tobermore man Lyle Watters.
Tobermore man Lyle Watters.

A FORMER Tobermore man tasked with turning around the fortunes of a multi-billion pound motoring operation has cited his father as one of his greatest influences.

Lyle Watters has had to make some tough decisions of late in his role as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Strategic Planning with Ford of Europe, decisions which have not shrouded what is important to him in his day to day life.

Currently, he is responsible for restructuring Ford’s operation in Europe (which has entailed closing plants, or as he puts it ‘right-sizing’) and bringing Ford back to profitablilty (which includes the ambitious launch of a brand new 25-vehicle fleet over the next five years).

An impressive C.V, Lyle’s portfolio covers European markets (with an estimated turnover of around $30 million). In the business world and car industry, the 48-year-old is a household name having featured in many publications including Business Weekly and, as of last week, Irish Times Business.

Hoever, when in conversation it is of his home, upbringing and family values that Lyle speaks of most proudly.

As alluded to, he has been inspired hugely by the work ethic of his father, Desmond, an undertaker who set-up his own business in 1969 - and who is still working today at 81 years of age.

“My father is an interesting character,” says Lyle. He has been driven by a passion and desire to serve his community. He has an incredible sense of purpose and drive. His ethos and work ethic have come through: they continue to influence me to this day.”

Lyle’s family (he is one of seven children) describe him as “well grounded,” saying that he makes regular trips to the family home in Tobermore, usually at Easter, during the Summer and at Christmas-time. “We’re very proud of him,” says one of his three sisters. Based in Germany for most of the week and resident in Billericay, Essex, for the remainder, Lyle still considers Tobermore as home. “Home’s home,” he says, “and it’s always good to come back.”