The appointment emboldens the company’s aims in the automotive market, given Rushforth’s expertise and illustrious history in the sector. It also follows last month’s appointment of Manuel Tolosa as its new Head of Powertrain Engineering.
Rushforth is the former vice-president of Global Sales & Performance at Nissan and COO at Hyundai Motor Europe, and has worked in the automotive industry for more than 35 years.
It’s a career that has also seen him work as group services director at Volkswagen Group UK and head of retail operations at Audi UK; he has also held commercial leadership roles with Land Rover and BMW Korea.
More recently, he was managing director at Lookers, Europe’s fourth-largest automotive retailer, where he was responsible for a turnover of more than €5bn, and prior to First Hydrogen was European managing director for the Marque Group, an Australian private equity-backed collective of auto technology businesses, where he was responsible for leading the group in European markets. Alongside this role he has also supported online electric vehicle marketplace, zeVie Cars, as non-executive director.
At First Hydrogen, Rushforth will bring the company’s cutting-edge hydrogen fleet vehicles to market and steer them to commercial success. An expert in harnessing data-led insights to improve customer experience, he will build brand value, partnerships and, when First Hydrogen’s demonstrator vehicles launch later this year, foster customer relationships.
Responsible for scaling up First Hydrogen’s operations in Europe, he will also help to establish a world-class team that reflects the business’ entrepreneurial and progressive spirit.
Rushforth himself commented, “I first drove hydrogen-powered vehicles at Hyundai and since then have firmly believed that hydrogen plays a dominant role in the future of mobility. First Hydrogen is bringing that zero emissions future into the present.
“This role means I can work at the forefront of Europe’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, giving me the opportunity to change the world working with First Hydrogen’s innovative technology. I’m especially looking forward to accelerating the company’s growth and working with our designers, engineers and prospective customers to shape the future.”
Steve Gill, CEO at First Hydrogen Automotive, added, “We’re excited to bring Allan on board, his appointment is a significant step in bringing First Hydrogen vehicles to market and cementing the company as a key player in the zero-emissions sector. Allan has had an impressive international career in the automotive sector, he is a strategic thinker who also understands the importance of operational execution and brings extensive digital expertise to the team.
“Hydrogen power is gaining global attention and we aim to be at the forefront of delivering its potential through innovative mobility solutions. We’re confident that his energy and experience will enable us to achieve our mission.”
First Hydrogen is designing and building hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered light commercial demonstrator vehicles (LCV) under two agreements with AVL Powertrain and Ballard Power Systems Inc. The LCV will have a range of 500+km.
At the same time, the company has launched its bespoke vehicle design phase which will develop its fleet of proprietary zero emission vehicles. First Hydrogen is also developing refueling capability working with FEV Consulting GmbH, the automotive consultancy of FEV Group of Aachen Germany.
The company revealed the appointment of Manuel Tolosa as its new Head of Powertrain Engineering on June 28, supporting its development of hydrogen fuel cell-powered LCV’s and bringing an equally impressive experience in the automotive sector – having for the last 16 years been responsible for hydrogen vehicle development projects at BMW Group (BMW), including the development of the unique BMW iX5 Hydrogen small series.
As an up-and-coming stakeholder in the hydrogen society, First Hydrogen is also pursuing opportunities in green hydrogen production and distribution in the UK, Europe and North America.