Hires and Promotions

Rowe returns to AutoWeb as president and CEO

IRVINE, Calif. - 

Jared Rowe is now back in the trenches of automotive marketing and with a company where his career started.

AutoWeb, which previously operated a Autobytel and a provider of digital automotive services connecting in-market car buyers with dealers and OEMs, appointed Rowe as director, president and chief executive officer on Thursday, succeeding Jeffrey Coats in a move effective immediately.

Rowe brings more than two decades of key management experience across the automotive and marketing industries, holding senior positions at FordDirect, Cox Automotive and Cerberus-backed YP Holdings.

As president of YP Holdings, Rowe was instrumental in the improvement of YellowPages.com’s business operations and its eventual sale to Dex Media in 2017. While at Cox Automotive, Rowe served as president of the Media Solutions Group, where he was responsible for leading the Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Dealer.com and Haystack businesses.

“Jared has a strong track record of successfully implementing strategic plans to revitalize automotive businesses competing in the e-commerce industry,” AutoWeb chairman Michael Fuchs said. “His leadership and restructuring at YP Holdings and Cox Automotive led to material operating improvements and enhanced competitive positioning.

“Jared will be an invaluable addition to our company as he shares our vision of delivering the highest quality marketing products to dealers and OEMs,” Fuchs said.

This will be Rowe’s second stint with AutoWeb, as he previously served as manager of strategic business development in 1998.

“It’s been nearly 20 years since I kicked off my digital marketing career at the former Autobytel,” Rowe said. “I am excited to rejoin AutoWeb to lead the continued evolution of this digital marketing platform that specializes in providing OEMs and dealers with high-quality, performance managed campaigns.

“It is important to provide our clients with detailed attribution that enables them to understand the value and ROI our services and products provide,” he continued.

“We have a solid foundation to build from with an established brand, advanced technology, an extremely talented team and clients that value the quality of our products,” Rowe said.

“I look forward to leveraging my experiences to help return AutoWeb to growth by introducing new strategies and initiatives that I believe will unlock the company’s full potential and maximize shareholder value,” he added.

Fuchs shard his appreciation of Coats’ contribution to AutoWeb during a span that lasted more than 20 years.

“I would like to thank Jeff Coats for his many years of service and dedication to AutoWeb. He has been an exceptional CEO for more than a decade and a valued board member since 1996,” Fuchs said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Jeff as he assists Jared during a transition period as a consultant. We wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Fuchs went on to say.

Dealership real estate finance firm hires Darvish as COO

McLEAN, Va. - 

Tamara Darvish is embarking on another automotive industry endeavor.

Capital Automotive Real Estate Services — which orchestrates custom tailored financing packages for dealers — announced that Darvish joined the company as its new chief operating officer.

Capital Automotive highlighted that Darvish will use her knowledge and expertise to lead both the acquisition and real estate teams. The company insisted that she has achieved results in the past with her “bold execution, game-changing initiatives and ability to grow a business exponentially.”

Darvish most recently held the position of COO at Pentagon Federal (PenFed) Credit Union, where she spearheaded efforts to grow assets by billions by generating millions of dollars of origination growth each month.

Prior to her work at PenFed, she was the executive vice president at DARCARS Automotive Group.  It was at DARCARS that she honed her skills in the automotive industry by growing the family business from three franchises to more than 20 dealerships, maintaining year-over-yer profitability, and serving on multiple industry boards and spending significant time advocating for dealers with members of Congress.

“Tamara brings with her an abundance of knowledge and experience in retail automotive and banking industries. She will be a great asset to our already outstanding team,” said Jay Ferriero, president and chief executive officer of Capital Automotive.

DealerSocket chooses former Symantec exec as COO


An executive with vast experience at some familiar names within the personal computing space now is in the automotive arena.

On Thursday, DealerSocket announced that Jose Arcilla has joined the company as chief operating officer.

The company highlighted Arcilla joins DealerSocket from Symantec Corp., and brings more than 20 years of experience leading operations across some of the most recognizable software companies in the world. Throughout his time at Symantec, Blue Coat Systems, Adobe and McAfee, Arcilla led and managed teams handling new accounts, professional services, customer success, customer support, retention and renewals, all of which he is now leading at DealerSocket.

“Jose’s experience in achieving operational excellence and his customer-centric focus make him a perfect fit as our new COO at DealerSocket,” said Sejal Pietrzak, president and chief executive officer of DealerSocket.

“My goal is to delight our customers and help them maximize the return on their investment in our software solutions,” Pietrzak continued. “Jose’s proven track record of over two decades of nurturing a customer-first approach will create an even stronger culture of offering our customers positive and seamless experiences.”

DealerSocket reiterated that its vision is to drive the future of automotive by simplifying the experience for our customers, consumers and partners by offering a suite of products that are seamless and integrated.

“We are constantly devising new ways to streamline our customer engagement lifecycle. This will ensure we will connect with our customers at the right time, with the right resources, and create solutions for our customers the first time, every time,” Arcilla said.

“Our ability to truly differentiate our customer experience allows us to act as our customers’ trusted advisors.  We will reactively, proactively and ultimately predictively engage to help our customers become even more successful,” he went on to say.

Cox Automotive appoints former Mercedes-Benz exec to SVP role


Cox Automotive announced Wednesday that it has named a new senior vice president of human resource business partners and employment practices to lead people strategy and execution for the company.

Chosen for the position is Renato Razon, who was most recently chief human resources officer at Mercedes-Benz USA.

In his new role, he is responsible for collaborating with the Cox Automotive executive team, as well as other key business leaders to identify and execute domestic people strategies.

“People are the real power of Cox Automotive – and together – with the passion we share for transforming the way the world buys, sells and owns cars – we're leading the industry into a new frontier,” Cox Automotive chief people officer Janet Barnard said in a news release announcing Razon’s appointment.

“I am excited to have Renato fill this critical leadership role as we create leading-edge team member experiences in a living, breathing, evolving culture and attract team members empowered to build a better future for the next generation of the automotive industry, enabling us to innovate in ways other companies only dream of,” Barnard continued.

In addition to leading a broad team of corporate, field and business-based HR business partners, the company said Razon will also serve as a business liaison for Cox Automotive’s people strategies.

At Mercedes-Benz USA, Razon led all HR functions concerning operations, talent acquisition, organizational effectiveness and development, employee engagement, compensation, benefits, pension programs, diversity and inclusion and corporate training.

“I am looking forward to joining Cox Automotive with its dynamic family of brands focused on people and business innovation," said Razon. “Positively impacting people strategies by leveraging my 20 years of OEM HR experience excites me for this journey ahead.”

Razon began his career with the Daimler AG family in 1998. He held multiple HR management and subject matter expert roles within compensation, recruiting and HR operations for DaimlerChrysler.

In 2007, Razon took on the role of manufacturing HR manager and was later promoted to serve as director of labor relations and HR operations for Daimler Trucks North America in Fort Mill, S.C. In that role, he managed all labor relations across the enterprise.

Former Autotrader exec named fusionZONE Automotive president


Website provider fusionZONE Automotive announced Tuesday that it has appointed former Autotrader executive Steve Greenfield to serve as company president.

As Autotrader vice president of business development and product management, Greenfield lead almost $1 billion of acquisitions — including Kelley Blue Book, vAuto, HomeNet and VinSolutions, the company said.

Greenfield most recently served as chief executive officer and founder of Automotive Ventures and has helped private equity firms conduct due diligence on automotive technology acquisitions since leaving AutoTrader.com in 2014.

"fusionZONE is focused on creating value for our dealers by understanding their business and driving results," company founder Brett Sutherlin said in a news release. "Steve is recognized throughout the automotive industry with nearly 20 years of experience in a variety of leadership roles.

"His depth of experience in business development, product management, strategic advising and building companies has helped build billions of dollars of value in the industry. We are thrilled to have Steve on our team to help us drive greater value for our dealer customers," Sutherlin continued.


LotLinx names motormindz exec to board of directors


LotLinx announced Tuesday that managing partner of motormindz Jim O'Sullivan will join the company's board of directors.

"Jim has been instrumental in helping a range of companies, from major automakers to smaller startups. His diverse background, unique insight and seasoned leadership will benefit us and our mission to help dealers find long-term success," LotLinx founder Len Short said in a news release.

O'Sullivan’s automotive executive background spans 42 years. His experience includes time at Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motor Corp., where he previously served as president and chief executive officer.

"This is an exciting opportunity to provide thought leadership to one of the more innovative companies in the space," O'Sullivan said. "AI technology has affected every aspect of the car business, including how cars are bought and sold. LotLinx has built a great organization, business model and platform that provides real value to OEMs and dealers alike. I look forward to mentoring the team and helping the company build on its already great reputation."

Carlease names former Cars.com president, founder new board chairman


Carlease announced Wednesday that it has appointed Cars.com 's former president and founder Mitch Golub to serve as chairman of its board.

This follows news from last month that the company has raised $3.5 million in an initial funding round led by venture capital firm Lightbank, along with a group of auto industry veterans that includes Golub.

In addition to expanding markets nationwide and increasing business leasing partnerships, the company said that it is investing in both its technology platform and digital experience.

“The company is capitalizing on increasing numbers of lease transactions, particularly in the luxury and millennial markets, and offering consumers an expert, efficient and stress-free experience,” Golub said in a news release announcing his appointment. “The interest in and support of Carlease is tremendous, and I couldn't be more excited to join the board of directors as the chairman.”

Before joining Cars.com, Golub spent over 20 years at the Tribune Co., where he leveraged his extensive background in product management to help with the development and management of start-ups in print, broadcast and online.

Golub also held a leadership role in Tribune's emerging New Media Group, where he created and launched Digital City, in partnership with America Online, according to Carlease. He received the Tribune Co.'s first Values Award, in recognition for business achievements that demonstrate creativity and entrepreneurialism.

“Mitch is a visionary and powerhouse leader in the automotive and digital industries and we are thrilled to have him as the chairman of Carlease's board of directors,” said Carlease chief executive officer Andy O'Dower. "His deep industry experience and knowledge of the consumer buying process will be invaluable as we scale the Carlease business quickly, enhancing our consumer product platform and digital experience, adding dealer partners and launching markets nationwide. I'm confident his counsel will make an important impact on our company and its growth,” he continued.

O’Dower is the former director of product at Cars.com and the former chief product officer at Curiosity.com.

Via its site, Carlease partners with dealers to offer consumers a single-point-of- experience where they can lease a vehicle to be delivered to their door.

“Carlease provides a convenient, one-stop shop to consumers looking to lease a new car by helping them find the right car, with the right offer, and delivering it to their home or office” added Golub. “In the process, they are increasing transaction opportunities for dealers – making this business a win-win for the industry.”

Golub is currently the president of MFG Digital, an investment and consulting firm that specializes in on digital start-ups.

PERQ names new client success VP


PERQ announced Tuesday that it has appointed Stephanie Thompson to be its new vice president of client success.

Thompson most recently worked at Gannett as a key account sales director specializing in online and traditional marketing.

In addition to building strong teams that specialize in developing long-lasting client relationships, PERQ said her nearly 15-year background within the automotive, retail and furniture sectors includes managing complex client engagement across multiple communications channels.

“Stephanie brings over a decade of experience building teams responsible for creating an optimal customer experience,” PERQ executive vice president of operations Paul Champion said in a news release. “Among the many qualities she brings to our team is her ability to make our client-facing experience better, more proactive and responsive. She’s an incredible coach and has done a great job empowering our team to be their best.” Champion continued.

In her new role, Thompson has been tasked with leading a broad initiative to refine and expand client onboarding, data reporting and lifecycle processes across each of the verticals PERQ sells to.

“I am honored to put my experience and skills to work for PERQ in this leadership capacity, during what is a very important and exciting time in the company’s history,” Thompson said. “At PERQ, we are completely dedicated to our clients, and, as the team lead for client success, I can tell you that we plan to dramatically expand the value they receive from PERQ products, services and team members.”

Group 1 acquires Mercedes-Benz, smart dealerships; appoints UK operations head


Group 1 Automotive recently announced Mercedes-Benz and Smart franchise acquisitions from U.K.-based Robinsons Motor Group. The dealer group has also appointed Darren Guiver to serve as its U.K. operations managing director, a move that was effective Thursday.

The company acquired three smart franchises and five Mercedes-Benz franchises.

During Group 1’s quarterly conference call on Feb. 8, the company discussed looking for new-car dealership “opportunities” in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil markets.

The company has increased its U.K. operations to 47 dealerships, which includes 12 existing brands.

“We are pleased to further expand our global relationship with Mercedes-Benz through the addition of these five dealerships to our growing UK platform,” Group 1 chief executive officer Earl Hesterberg explained in a new release.

Group 1 said that it expects to generate an approximate $260 million in annualized revenues from the acquisition.

The newly acquired dealerships are located northeast of London in Suffolk and East Anglia and neighbor several other existing Group 1 dealerships in the area.

Meanwhile, in his new role as head of U.K. operations, Guiver will report directly to Hesterberg.

Following the sale of his dealer group, Spire Automotive, Guiver joined Group 1 in February 2016.

“Darren is a highly experienced retail operator with a proven track record of success,” Hesterberg said. “My top management team and I have complete confidence that Darren is the right person for this role.  He and I have been working together almost daily for the past two years so we expect this transition to be seamless.”

Richmond AA elevates Carter to GM


An auction executive who gained experience in Florida now is overseeing an operation in Virginia

Auction Management Solutions client Richmond Auto Auction recently announced that Wyatt Carter has been promoted from assistant general manager to general manager, effective immediately. 

Carter has been with Richmond AA since the beginning of 2017, previously working for ADESA Orlando and Sanford Auto Exchange in Florida.  He has been in the auction business for 13 years, holding many auction positions including fleet lease manager and assistant general manager. 

Richmond AA owner Mark Motley said, “We are very excited to have Wyatt move into this new role within the company.  He has done an excellent job with the growth and development of the auction and is very deserving of this position.” 

Carter said,  “I have been fortunate to work with great people here at Richmond AA.  Our operations team continues to improve on productivity and efficiencies while our sales team builds a credible base of dealer consignment business and aggressively growing commercial consignors.”

Auction Management Solutions president Tom Stewart who provides consulting services for Richmond AA, praised the operation for making this personnel move.

“We are excited for Wyatt in his new leadership role.  With his vast auction experience, we look forward to our continued success in servicing and growing their clients, both dealers and consignors,” Stewart said.

Richmond Auto Auction operates on 35 acres of land, offering more than 400 units weekly through seven lanes.  A full reconditioning and mechanical facility, in-house body shop, in-house transportation, AutoIMS and full integrated on-line capabilities are available. 

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