EDMONTON, AB - AutoCanada Inc. ('AutoCanada' or the 'Company') (TSX: ACQ), a multi-location North American automobile dealership group, announced that it has made the following appointments to further strengthen the Company's executive team:
Jeffrey Thorpe - President, Canadian Operations
Brian Feldman - Senior Vice President, Canadian Operations & Disruptive Technologies
Lee Wittick - Senior Vice President, Operations & OEM Relations
Mr. Jeffrey Thorpe has been appointed President, Canadian Operations, and will be responsible for overseeing AutoCanada's strategies and day-to-day operations in Canada and driving the Company's ongoing growth, synergies and efficiencies. Mr. Thorpe will report directly to Paul Antony, Executive Chair of AutoCanada.
Jeff is a proven leader in the automotive retail industry with over 24 years of experience with AutoNation, the largest automotive retailer in North America. He most recently held the position of Market President at AutoNation and was responsible for operations in multiple U.S. Markets and providing direct leadership over automotive dealership operations in Colorado, Minnesota, Chicago, Cleveland, Northern California and Los Angeles. Throughout his career, Jeff has undertaken positions of increasing authority and responsibility including, Business Development Manager, New Vehicle Sales Manager, New Car Director, General Sales Manager, General Manager and Market President. Jeff has established himself as an effective leader who builds and mentors strong teams and people. Over his extensive tenure at AutoNation, Jeff became well known in the industry for cultivating multiple dozen General Managers and senior leaders within the automotive ecosystem. Jeff and his family are relocating from Denver, Colorado to Edmonton, Alberta where AutoCanada is headquartered.
Mr. Antony said, 'We are excited to welcome Jeff as our President, Canadian Operations. His significant industry expertise and experience operating a dealership platform at scale using centralized services through head office, which closely mirrors AutoCanada's operating rhythm, will be an excellent addition to our executive team. Jeff has proven himself at building and scaling organizations through the development of a strong culture of values and winning. He is a progressive leader with the vision and business acumen to lead AutoCanada's Canadian operations, and I am extremely confident that Jeff will make great contributions in his role at the Company as we continue to build on our positive momentum and drive industry-leading performance.'
Mr. Brian Feldman has been appointed as Senior Vice President, Canadian Operations & Disruptive Technologies, and will report directly to Jeff. Brian has a proven and unique track-record of success over his 20+ years in the automotive industry. During his tenure at AutoNation, Brian held various operational, strategic and retail leadership positions, most recently serving as Domestic Market Brand President. Prior to this, Brian held multiple Senior Director roles at AutoNation with responsibility over national sales processes, new vehicle pricing and inventory, operations strategy and sales systems. Additionally, Brian spent extensive time in automotive retail with multiple brands holding nearly every job from Service Advisor to General Manager. His combination of retail, corporate and manufacturer experience allowed him to develop subject matter expertise and revolutionize sales, marketing, training and business development practices at a scale larger than can be found in the Canadian marketplace.
Mr. Lee Wittick has been appointed as Senior Vice President Operations & OEM Relations and will also report directly to Jeff. Lee has over 33 years of experience in the automotive industry and has spent the last 15 years with the Humberview Group in Toronto, Ontario, where he most recently held the position of Managing Partner at Applewood Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC and Mississauga Kia. In addition to his role at the dealerships, he assisted the Humberview Group in Senior Leadership Development, Customer Experience, Group Rewards Referral Program, and Group Marketing. Lee and the Applewood Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC team grew the dealership to become one of Canada's top-performing dealerships. Prior to joining the Humberview Group, Lee was the founder and creator of Trade Tracker which was one of the first online appraisal tools offered across Canada. Lee sold Trade Tracker to Dealer Track (now Cox Automotive) where it is still sold today. Echoing Jeff and Brian's strong focus on building culture to drive growth, Lee has a reputation for developing a strong culture within organizations and helping team members to realize their potential.
'We are also very excited to welcome Brian and Lee along with Jeff to the AutoCanada team,' said Mr. Antony. 'Jeff, Brian and Lee are highly experienced and proven automotive retail professionals. All three bring deep knowledge in M&A, running centralized services on large dealership platforms and mentoring people for success. They have all previously demonstrated excellent leadership skills in leading high performing teams focused on strong culture, teamwork and collaboration that motivates people to deliver results.'
'We believe the U.S. automotive market is ahead of Canada by five years, and as such, we will leverage best practices from Jeff and Brian to layer onto our current playbook along with the Canadian expertise of our existing operations team, as well as Lee's Canadian based perspectives to complement Jeff and Brian's experience. This is the team that will be instrumental in leading AutoCanada on the next leg of our journey as we execute on our strategic growth initiatives.'
AutoCanada also announced that Rhonda English has been proposed for election to the Board of Directors at the upcoming Annual General Meeting of the Company's shareholders scheduled for May 5, 2022.
Rhonda is currently Chief Marketing Officer of CAA Club Group, an independent automobile club and owner of several insurance companies. Throughout her extensive career, she has successfully driven company growth and profitability through thought leadership and strategic direction in the automotive and insurance industries. She previously held executive roles at insurance companies and served on the Board of the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation and retired as Past Chair of the Foundation in 2019. Rhonda currently sits on the Markham Stouffville Hospital Board, chairing the Quality & Safety Committee.
'We are very pleased to welcome Rhonda to our Board of Directors. Her wealth of experience in the automotive industry will be a tremendous asset to AutoCanada,' said Mr. Antony.
AutoCanada is a leading North American multi-location automobile dealership group currently operating 78 franchised dealerships, comprised of 28 brands, in eight provinces in Canada as well as a group in Illinois, USA. AutoCanada currently sells Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Infiniti, Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru, Audi, Volkswagen, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, MINI, Volvo, Toyota, Lincoln, Honda, Acura and Porsche branded vehicles. In 2021, our dealerships sold approximately 86,000 vehicles and processed over 800,000 service and collision repair orders in our 1,303 service bays generating revenue in excess of $4 billion.
Additional information about AutoCanada Inc. is available at www.sedar.com and the Company's website at www.autocan.ca.
Chief Financial Officer