30 January, 2019
Automotive businessman Chris Stillwell has been appointed chairman of Melbourne-based Tickford and Tickford Racing. Stillwell joins the team with an extensive background in the automotive and motorsports industry, having spent 14 years as CEO of Stillwell Motor Group, currently serving as chairman on the Stillwell Family Board.

Stillwell’s addition to the team will complement the unchanged roles of co-owners Rod Nash, Rusty French, and Sven Burchartz, and CEO Tim Edwards.

“It’s great to be a part of the Tickford family,” said Stillwell. “The automotive industry has been a part of my life since I started as a motor mechanic 44 years ago. Cars, and particularly race cars, have always been a huge passion of mine, so I am very excited to be joining the team.”

Chris is the son of Bib Stillwell, who founded the Stillwell Motor Group in 1949. Under the guidance of Bib for half a century and his children and grandchildren the last two decades, SMG has formed successful business dealings in road cars, aviation, electronics and real estate in both Australia and the United States.

Bib was also one of Australia’s top racing drivers in his day, winning four consecutive Australian Drivers Gold Star championships from 1961-1965, twice finishing runner-up in the Australian Grand Prix, and driving alongside Lex Davison in the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans.

After Bib’s passing in 1999, Chris became CEO of SMG, and remains closely involved today via the family board alongside his sister and four brothers.

“I’d describe Tickford very much as a strong, close, family style company,” Stillwell continued. “I have known many of the key stakeholders for a long time, so I know a bit about the structure within the business.

“Being involved in a family business as long as I have, I have learned a lot about how those dynamics work and how collaboration between directors and management can help a company achieve its goals. I understand the linkages between high Board performance and high Organizational performance, and I believe my experiences and insights can help Tickford and Tickford Racing achieve more success on and off the track.”

Tickford Racing co-owner Rod Nash is pleased with the organisation’s new appointment, citing Stillwell’s industry background and experience as key factors that will aid him in moving Tickford forward.

“We’re very happy to announce that Chris will be joining us as chairman,” Nash remarked. “He has a distinct background in the automotive industry and has played a big part in the success that Stillwell Motor Group has had over the years. He’s known Rusty (French) and Sven (Burchartz) for a long time and has great relationships with them, and is very passionate about cars and motor racing, which of course are central to our businesses. We believe Chris will be a great asset to the company, and we are glad to have him as part of the Tickford family.”

Chris has had his own successes in racing as well, having won the Touring Car Masters ProSport title in 2014, driving a 1968 Ford Mustang Trans-Am (pictured above) with Burchartz.

“That car now lives in the States, and I race it there when I have the opportunity. I actually bump into Rusty (French) from time to time,” he added. “But it is quite cool to join the team as the Mustang Supercar comes to life. I have worked with Ford for several decades in the automotive realm, and everyone is excited to see them back in the sport, so I’m really looking forward to being a part of a team with such history for the Blue Oval.”