After 35 years with the automaker, Linda Silverstein — Ford’s general manager of remarketing and rental operations — is retiring.
A pillar of the used-car industry, Sept. 29 is the last day at Ford for Silverstein. She has led the automaker’s remarketing since October 2002 and headed its rental operations since January 2007.
Asked what she has enjoyed most about this business, Silverstein told AuSM by phone: “It’s all about the people,” later adding, “The people have made this industry great.”
And the appreciation is certainly reciprocated. Her awards from peers in the auction business are numerous.
They include such honors as the 2017 Barbara Cox Woman of the Year recognition from Cox Automotive, a 2009 induction into the NAAA Hall of Fame, recognition as a Warren Young fellow by NAAA and the 2010 Consignor of the Year award at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing.
Respect from her peers is also evident in emailed responses from top leaders in the business.
“Linda is a person of great integrity who has always pushed to make the entire remarketing business better and more efficient,” Cox Automotive president Sandy Schwartz said. “As a tremendous ambassador of Ford, Linda also helped promote diversity and has been a wonderful mentor to so, so many. We all will miss her acumen and big smile.”
Kurt Kohler, senior vice president of fleet and acquisition/remarketing at Enterprise Holdings, added: “Linda, you have been a great contributor to the fleet industry and a terrific representative for the Ford Family. Congratulations on a fantastic career! I look forward to our continued friendship for years to come.”
“Not only has Linda been a great business partner, but she also has been a friend. She has always represented the Blue Oval proudly and professionally,” said Mike Schmidt, senior vice president of fleet services at Avis Budget Group. “Our business dealings may be coming to an end, but there are still more burgers at Millers Bar to share!”
The auction industry is one where every day can be different, something that Silverstein finds enjoyable.
“It’s always been exciting,” she said.
But her three-and-half decades in the industry go far beyond the remarketing lanes or rental car lots.
According to a bio she shared, Silverstein has been with the Blue Oval since 1982, joining the company right after earning an MBA that same year at Babson College. Silverstein graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1980 with a degree in economics.
Her first role was as an analyst in the Ford division’s district sales office in Detroit, a city she ended up working in for six years, taking on roles as truck merchandising manager, market representation manager, distribution manager and field manager.
Silverstein went on to work in marketing and sales positions for the company’s Ford and Lincoln-Mercury divisions. Her posts also includes times in dealer communications, advertising and cross-vehicle line strategy. Additionally, Silverstein also worked in the sales operations controller’s office and in product development’s strategy and advanced planning office.
As the head of Automotive Remarketing Services, Silverstein launched a new venture for the automaker, through which the department provided remarketing services for customers outside of the automaker (now a part of the company’s vehicle remarketing division). She later became auction department manager.
As for what’s next, Silverstein told AuSM she has not made any set plans, but said she would take some time and decide what’s next in the New Year.