Mr ACCO: The man behind International Harvester and Iveco

By: Steve Brooks


Known as Mr ACCO, Lloyd Reeman recalls the turbulent history of International and Iveco, and that one truck that brought them back to the top

Mr ACCO: The man behind International Harvester and Iveco
Lloyd Reeman: “When you boil it all down, it’s all about people.”

 

Much of the media refers to Lloyd Reeman these days as ‘Mr ACCO’.

Nice gesture I guess, but to my mind seriously short of the mark in describing a man whose commitment and dedication to a company and its customers go way beyond such a simplistic tag.

Perhaps, like ACCO, it ties him to the heydays of International history when as an 18 year-old first employed in the International Harvester mailroom, he began a career which would stretch almost half a century and endure more corporate upheaval than most minds could even contemplate.

However, neither of us particularly keen on revisiting the historical happenings of International and Iveco – there has been enough written on those events to fill a small library.

Instead, it’s an occasion to glean through the eyes of a true and trusted toiler, some of the people and products that helped create one of the Australian trucking industry’s greatest stories of corporate evolution and survival.

And likewise, the mindset and motivation that kept Lloyd Reeman turning up day after day, year after year when so many times it seemed the entire entity and all within it would be crushed in corporate collapse.

While he says he’s "sorta retired", Lloyd is currently staying on the Iveco books as a contractor, working a few days a week with the somewhat reverential title of Brand Ambassador.

He whispered at last year’s Brisbane Truck Show that with his 65th birthday approaching and an earlier health issue that caused something of a refocus on the quality of life, retirement was becoming a real possibility.

And so it was that at the end of 2015, Lloyd Reeman decided to pull stumps.

Wisely, Iveco wasn’t prepared to let all that experience just walk out the door, thus his engagement as a contractor.

"I’m not stopping completely," he quips. "I’m just stepping aside from the 14 hour days and spending more time with my wife and grandkids.

"Besides, it’s time. New people are coming into the company and exciting changes are coming with them.

"Change doesn’t intimidate me, not at all, but they’re the sort of changes we need because they’ll bring greater stability to the company. Believe me, it’s happening."

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A ’78 model Atkinson on roadtrain duty. The big ‘A’ was a solid performer for International but according to Lloyd Reeman, the 3070 was the real game changer in the cab-over class. 

 

Changing from International to Iveco

Lloyd Reeman has seen more than his fair share of change as he reflects on a career starting in the halcyon years of International Harvester.

In fact, it wouldn’t be too weird to suggest that the two greatest constants at International and Iveco have been Lloyd Reeman and the march of new management.

Along that journey came the catastrophic collapse of International Harvester, a change that ripped the heart out of its people.

"It hurt everyone and when I say hurt, I mean real hurt," he says firmly.

"The transition from Inter to Iveco was tough. Definitely! It was a new culture, new processes and new products. We went from S-line to Powerstar, T-line to EuroTech, but we had to focus.

"Without Iveco, the company would’ve just fallen in a deeper hole and never climbed out."

As for all those managing directors, can you pick a couple that for one reason or another stand above the others?

"There were plenty of good ones," he answers without hesitation. "Ben Lazerich was an American who did a good job in my opinion but I think the three who stand out are David Eagle, Stefan Schneider and Alain Gajnik.

"As far as I’m concerned, they were all the right man at the right time."

As for the generations of trucks, one model ranks above all others in Lloyd Reeman’s estimation.

"S-line, Atkinson, ACCO, they all did great jobs," he asserts, "but as far as I’m concerned, the International 3070 is the truck that really stands out."

"The 3070 put us back on top and as far as I’m concerned, it was a real game changer."

 

Read the full interview with Lloyd Reeman in the current issue of Owner//Driver, subscribe here.

 

 

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