Capital One Auto Finance's CEO Reflects on 13 Years of Full-Spectrum Growth as He Gets Set to Retire

McLEAN, Va. — A spokesperson for Capital One Auto Finance confirmed earlier this week to SubPrime Auto Finance News that the division's top management has been shuffled, including the retirement of the division's chief executive officer, who oversaw the company's spectrum expansion for more than a decade.

In addition, the spokesman said the division's president is moving on to another business unit.

Dave Lawson, chief executive officer of the auto finance division announced that he will retire, effective April 30.

He headed up the unit for 13 years as it spread its financing from prime to subprime, ultimately going full spectrum.

The expansion began in 1998 with the purchase of subprime lender Summit Acceptance Corp.

The company went on to grow through its 2001 acquisition of PeopleFirst, a super-prime lender, with Lawson at the helm.

Next, in 2005, Capital One sought to cover the entire lending spectrum by purchasing prime/near prime lender Onyx, and also integrated Hibernia's prime portfolio that same year.

The auto finance division's president, Ryan Schneider, also had news to share. He announced that he is moving over to the company's card business. Stepping in to oversee the auto finance unit is Sanjiv Yajnik, who was the company's U.K. executive vice president.

Moreover, both Schneider and Lawson indicated that Capital One Auto Finance is being incorporated into the company's newly formed financial services line, which is led by Jory Berson, president of the U.S. card line.

The new line of business will also include small business solutions, payments, installment loans and point of sale. Yajnik will now report to Berson, Lawson told Capital One associates in an internal memo obtained by SubPrime Auto Finance News.

"With Sanjiv, auto finance is gaining a strong experienced leader," Lawson explained to employees. "In the past several years, Sanjiv and his team have refocused their business on our core U.K. card franchise and navigated the U.K. business through a challenging credit and regulatory environment.

"In the process, he has led the core U.K. credit card franchise to streamline its processes, transform its operations, tighten credit, realize cost savings, develop the U.K. brand and positioned the business to deliver strong results," he continued. "I am confident that Sanjiv will continue the transformation of our auto finance business."

On a more personal note, Lawson told associates, "My decision to retire comes at a time when I am extremely proud of the business we've built together and at a point in my life when I am ready to do other things I enjoy.

"For the past 13 years, Capital One Auto Finance has been an important part of my life, and I will take many memories with me," he added. "From the original integration of Summit Acceptance Corp. to the triple double and the integrations of PeopleFirst, Onyx, Hibernia and North Fork Bank, this has been an amazing journey.

"We have built a great business and accomplished a lot together. Now, I'm looking forward to creating the next chapter of my life," Lawson explained.

He went on to tell employees that he knows they will continue to work toward the company's goal of becoming No. 1.

"As I reflect back on my time at Capital One, I realize that what I will miss most of all will be the people who have touched my life over the past 13 years. It has truly been an honor and privilege to work with you. Best always," he concluded.

Additionally, the memo gave Schneider the opportunity to discuss his move over to the card business.

"While I am excited to take on this new challenge, I have a definite sense of loss at leaving what for me has been a dynamic and energizing work experience. I will miss working with you and being a part of this terrific organization," Schneider said.

"While we have accomplished much in the past year together, what I will remember most is watching individuals be great, whether it was leaders stepping up to take on bigger roles or just people doing a great job every day. Those are the things that will stay with me as I look back," he indicated.

Another key part of Schneider's farewell message included a "thank you" to everyone on the auto finance team for making him feel welcome when he came on board and for expanding his learning.

"During our time together, you've helped me grow both professionally as a leader and personally. I am honored to have worked with you. I am confident in Capital One Auto Finance's future and know that with Sanjiv at the helm, the auto finance business will continue to be successful as you strive to reach the goal we set to be the best auto finance company in the U.S," he concluded.
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