S&U, specialist motor finance and bridging lender, has appointed Graham Wheeler as chief executive of the company’s motor finance arm, Advantage Finance.

Wheeler will join Advantage on 1 October 2019, taking over from Guy Thompson who founded the company in 1999 and led it through 20 years of successive annual profit growth.

Wheeler began his career with GMAC and formed part of the original team at GE Motor Finance in 1990. Joining Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) as an area manager in 1995, Wheeler worked his way through the ranks to become chief executive of VWFS UK, transforming it into Britain’s largest car finance business with a combined asset base of £13bn and over 1m customers.

Wheeler then joined Jaguar Land Rover as director for global financial services, before developing a digital car financing business for Shawbrook Bank.

“I am delighted and proud to be able to lead Advantage on the next stage of its remarkably successful journey,” said Wheeler. “I pay tribute to Guy Thompson and the team he has built at Advantage and very much look forward to working with them in the years to come.”

The most recent results published by S&U revealed profits at Advantage Finance were up, with customer numbers exceeding 60,000. Current collections for Advantage were up 6% year-on-year, while net receivables increased 3% to £263m.

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“Recent trends in our business are encouraging, particularly in transaction growth, debt and new customer quality,” said Anthony Coombs, S&U chairman. “Together with our tried and tested traditional emphasis on continuous process refinements and improvements for our customers, these give us confidence of further steady and sustainable growth and a successful year ahead.”