William Stobart, deputy group CEO at Culina, was born in Cumberland in 1961, the fourth child of Eddie and Nora Stobart. After starting out as a teenager working in the family business, 45 years on he is now deputy group CEO of the £2.2bn a year Culina Group.
After many years working alongside his late brother Edward at the family firm, where he was credited as the unsung hero running the business behind the scenes, in 2004 William and Andrew Tinkler (then William’s brother-in-law) bought the company before it was split into two, Stobart Group and Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL).
William Stobart was chief operating officer of ESL between 2007 and 2014 and took over as chief executive from 2014 to 2017.
In 2019 William was credited with saving the business when he backed a £75m bailout of ESL by private equity firm DBAY Advisors.
He then served as executive chairman of ESL parent GreenWhiteStar Acquisitions from 2019 to 2021 and was made deputy group CEO of Culina in July 2021 when it bought GWSA.
With over 2,700 trucks on the road in its famous green and red livery – all with their own unique names – Eddie Stobart is the only haulage company with the distinction of having a fan club and featuring in the Channel 4 documentary Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers, which ran between 2010 and 2014.
The show made William Stobart into something of a ‘poster boy’ for the haulage industry, albeit a reluctant one as he is normally camera shy.
For over 40 years William has been a pioneering force in the industry, leading the development of driver safety and compliance through the introduction of telematics and digital fleet management.
Despite his success, he is still a humble man who thinks nothing of jumping behind the wheel on a snowy Boxing Day to make sure a load of food and drink gets delivered on time.
It is a testimony to his longevity that after more than 40 years he is still playing a leading role within the transport industry and is described by those who know him as a haulage ‘legend’.
“I had no idea. Thank you. This isn’t something you put yourself forward for, so to be recognised by your peers is amazing. I am very humbled”
William Stobart, deputy group CEO, Culina