Prestige chauffeur firm Berkley Executive closes as Covid-19 kills off entertainment and corporate work

Mark Butterfield Berkeley

High-end chauffeuring firm Berkley Executive, the company backed by pop singer John Newman which went live just before the March 2020 lockdown, has become the latest high-profile casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Berkley Executive, which pitched its services to wealthy people in the entertainment and corporate markets, closed last week and disposed of its fleet of six bespoke Range Rovers and a Mercedes-Benz V-Class Senzati conversion. Meanwhile managing director Mark Butterfield (pictured) has now taken a job outside the chauffeur sector.

Butterfield said: “This extended third lockdown was the final straw. It was always going to be a brave project but who could have foreseen the events of the past 12 months? Having hard-launched our business in March 2020 – to an incredible fanfare at a fabulous party at The Yard, Shoreditch – the first lockdown came at a bad time for such a young company.”

He added: “With all live events cancelled, plus very little in the way of hospitality, entertainment and luxury travel for the best part of a year, survival as a start-up business was clearly going to be tough.”

Berkley Executive was originally set up in 2019 by chauffeur Rob Andrew, with backing from singer Newman, a car enthusiast who had worked as a mechanic before finding fame. Andrew left the business before the March 2020 relaunch, with Butterfield, formerly at The Chauffeur Group, taking over.

The Berkley fleet comprised six Range Rover 4.4-litre diesel LWB models, with a customised two-tone black and green paint job and extras including a bar in the centre of the back seats. The MercedesV-Class Senzati conversion is a factory-approved upgrade with a bespoke interior.