From the time I was 8 years-old, I have been fascinated with the DeLorean. My love for the stainless steel car can be traced to when I watched Back To The Future for the first time while visiting my uncle in Rio. Since then I have learned to not only love the car, but the fascinating story behind it.
For today’s episode of the Project Management for the Masses Podcast, I bring you Barrie Wills, whose 50+ years of experience in the auto industry includes being the Director of Product Development & Supply and CEO of the DeLorean Motor Cars.
One of the first podcasts episodes I have ever produced was about the Sydney Opera House, and the contradiction that it stands for: when looking at schedules and budgets, the project was a failure; when looking at its legacy and impact on society, it was a resounding success.
The DeLorean is part of a select group of projects which present us with this conundrum: was it a failure? Or has its convoluted story contributed to it being the iconic automobile which silhouette is recognized around the world?
Let’s talk about that 🙂
When it comes to the DeLorean project, there’s nobody who knows more about it than Barrie Wills, and I’m thrilled at this opportunity to ask him a few questions.
Barrie Wills and the DeLorean
Barrie Wills has over fifty years of experience in the worldwide automobile industry as a direct employee, interim manager or consultant with Jaguar Cars, British Leyland Truck & Bus, Reliant Motor Company, DeLorean Motor Cars Limited, Lotus Cars, Lamborghini Automobili, Land Rover, Timor Putra Nasional, the UK Department of Trade & Industry, Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry, and the European Union.
With DeLorean, Barrie was recruited by founder John Z. DeLorean as director of purchasing. He joined company in mid-October 1978, on the day the earth-movers moved onto the 72-acre site. Barrie created purchasing departments in Belfast and Coventry, and led sourcing of all plant and equipment, components and materials.
He oversaw the work of Lotus, who handled development engineering of the DeLorean car and took on additional material control and parts & service responsibilities in 1980 as director of supplies. Appointed director of product development and supply in October 1981 and later CEO in 1982.
Barrie eventually left company after liquidation of business in mid February 1983 and ‘handing over the keys’ to the auctioneer.
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