Hires and Promotions

DAA Seattle names new assistant GM

AUBURN, Wash. - 

DAA Seattle has appointed a new assistant general manager with human resources experience, the company announced Monday.

Chosen for the position is Brian McConkey, who joined the auction in 2013.

Prior to joining DAA Seattle, McConkey spent time at Nordstrom, where he worked in corporate human resources at the company’s downtown Seattle flagship store. Furthermore, he was responsible for interviewing, hiring and onboarding new employees, according to DAA Seattle.

“Brian is a natural leader who has earned the respect of his peers,” DAA Seattle general manager Dave Blake said in a news release. “I appreciate his openness to understanding an individual’s challenges, his ability to study opportunities for improvement, and his innovative mind; he is a perfect fit for the AGM position here in Seattle, and I look forward to growing success in our partnership,” he adds.

In his new role, not only will McConkey work in human resources as DAA Seattle assistant GM, he will also help with the management of IT, marketing, industry events, operational efficiencies, competitive analysis and auction safety, according to the auction.

Cox Automotive names new product chief

ATLANTA - 

Cox Automotive announced Monday that it has brought aboard Marianne Johnson to serve as the company’s new chief product officer.

The company said that Johnson not only brings 30 years of experience in innovation and technology,  she has helped shape the financial technology field, as well.

In her new role, Johnson will head the development of company products across its more than 20 brands and report to Cox Automotive executive vice president and chief operating officer Mark O’Neil.

“Marianne will lead our product team during an important time in our history,” O’Neil said in a news release. “She understands the momentum we have, the opportunities in front of us, and she’s committed to leveraging her product and innovation expertise to maximize them.”

Johnson most recently led product innovation and technology for the network and security solutions line of business at First Data, where she served as senior vice president of enterprise commercialization.

“The automotive industry is in the midst of dynamic transformation and I am thrilled to join Cox Automotive to help the company and its customers,” said Johnson. “This is an industry-leading company, well-positioned to deliver exceptional products that maximize the potential for our clients and consumers."

Along with leading global product innovation at U.S. Bank company Elavon as an executive vice president, Johnson has also previously spent time at Equifax as senior vice president of U.S. growth and operations.

During her time at Equifax, Johnson delivered a new product innovation that produced vital revenue growth and was a stimulus for innovations that followed, according to Cox Automotive.

Additionally, Johnson has been named a Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal and Woman of the Year by The Technology Association of Georgia.

AutoGravity names former CDK exec new engineering VP

IRVINE, Calif. - 

AutoGravity announced Thursday that it has chosen Jason Bonifay, a former CDK Global executive, to serve as the company’s new vice president of engineering.

At CDK, Bonifay served as VP of development for product and engineering, where he oversaw more than 100 global associates who were responsible for engineering, product management, architecture and operations at the company.

“Jason is a veteran technical leader and has been the driving force behind some of the most impactful technology in the automotive space,” AutoGravity founder and chief executive officer Andy Hinrichs said in a news release. “Jason's depth of experience and strong track record uniquely position him to galvanize this team, accelerate our engineering efforts and shape the AutoGravity of tomorrow, forever transforming the way people buy and finance their cars.”

Prior to CDK, Bonifay was chief technology officer at Propero Software, before he served as VP of software engineering at Bankruptcy Management Solutions for over five years.

“AutoGravity has established a reputation as the leading innovator in the automotive industry. The opportunity to join this team and lead the engineering department through a high-growth period is a natural fit for me,” said Bonifay. “The speed at which this company is transforming the car buying experience is unprecedented and I am eager to take the wheel and make AutoGravity the industry standard for digital retailing.”

 

Faraday Future chooses former Blue Oval exec as VP of finance

LOS ANGELES - 

A start-up in the electric-vehicle space is gaining momentum with the appointment of a former high-level Blue Oval executive.

Faraday Future (FF) — which dubs itself as wanting to bring premium, intuitive and seamlessly connected electric vehicles to people worldwide — announced on Thursday that Michael Agosta has been appointed the position of vice president of finance in North America

Agosta is the former chief financial officer of Ford Motor Co. Middle East and Africa, where he was based in Dubai. Among his more than two decades of global executive career experience in finance and accounting, Agosta has served in additional roles as a regional controller in accounting, purchasing, product development, and the marketing and sales areas focused in the automotive Industry.

Effective immediately, the company indicated Agosta will lead accounting, finance and internal controls at FF, in addition to the financial management team to coordinate daily finance-related functions.

“It’s a great opportunity to join FF at this exciting time and lead its finance organization,” Agosta said. “What I’ve seen at FF really amazed me – especially the significant efforts that everyone has put in building a clean, intelligent, connected and shared future mobility solution. 2018 is going to be an exceptional year for FF to deliver its first FF 91 to the market, and I will lead my team to make sure we are ready for this goal and beyond.”

Agosta, prior to working in the automotive industry, was a senior manager at Ernst and Young Consulting and manager at Arthur Andersen Consulting, where he provided financial services support in the industrial manufacturing sector.

Donlen appoints new sales, client relations strategy head

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. - 

Donlen has brought aboard a new senior vice president to oversee company strategy for new business development, client retention and sales force effectiveness.

The company announced Thursday that it has chosen Greg Hawes to serve as Donlen SVP of sales and client relations.

Hawes brings over 20 years of leadership experience developing go-to-market strategies designed to improve companies’ revenue growth and market expansion.

“We are excited to bring Greg on board, and we look forward to him leading his team’s strategy for contributing to Donlen’s rapid growth,” Donlen president Tom Callahan said in a news release announcing Hawes’s appointment. “Throughout his career, Greg has a strong track record of success in driving revenue growth and sales optimization, enhancing client retention, leading change and improving overall productivity. His proven leadership framework will allow us to enhance the experience of our current and new fleet customers.” 

Prior to joining Donlen, Hawes has previously held sales leadership positions at Comdata, Ceridian, Monster Worldwide and ADP.

Meanwhile, in other company news, Donlen presented its latest fleet management technology solutions at the two-day NAFA Fleet Management Association Institute and Expo in Anaheim, Calif., late last month.

The new Recall inSIGHT solution introduced by Donlen in April was among a total of seven products the provider of financing and fleet management solutions showcased over two days.

UnityWorks promotes exec to VP of strategic development

MINNEAPOLIS - 

UnityWorks recently promoted one of its own executives.

The provider of nicro-targeted video campaigns for automotive dealers announced the promotion of Jeff Grice to vice president of strategic development.

Grice joined the company in 2013 as director of strategic development with a focus on building scalable and customized, data driven video experiences for the company’s major strategic client partners.

The company highlighted that Grice brought a depth of digital and multi-channel marketing experience to UnityWorks having previously held senior executive roles as president and chief operating officer of several leading marketing services firms.

“Jeff’s new officer title signifies the important contributions he has made to the company and the leadership he has provided on critical strategic client partnerships with some of the leading automotive agencies across the country,” said Tim Copacia, executive vice president of UnityWorks.

“Jeff has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor to his clients and has proven to be a primary contributor to our company’s growth trajectory. This officer role is richly deserved,” Copacia added.

New COO among 2 promotions at Dent Wizard

ST. LOUIS - 

Dent Wizard International announced Thursday that it has promoted two more company leaders following the promotion of chief executive officer Mike Black last month.

Addison Thomas has been promoted to chief operating officer and Doug Grill has been appointed to fill his most recent position as regional vice president of Dent Wizard’s Mid-South region.

In addition to taking on Black’s past responsibilities as Dent Wizard COO, Thomas will lead the core service operations team in his new role.

“It is quite rewarding to provide upward mobility to talented and committed teammates,” Black, the new CEO, said in a new release. “I’ve personally worked with Addison for over 20 years. His focus on people, process, and delivering customer value is second to none. He inherits a great group of experienced leaders who bring tremendous intellectual capital and proven performance to his senior team.”

Over the past 16 years, Thomas has served in several roles at Dent Wizard, including his most recent post as regional vice president of the Mid-South region.

Meanwhile, Grill has transitioned from regional director of operations in the Southeast region to take on that role.

Grill has spent his time at Dent Wizard serving in sales and client service roles since joining the company five years ago.

“Doug Grill’s work ethic and people skills, combined with his drive to win, make him an exceptional asset,” added Black. “He’s a perfect example of the bench strength we have throughout our organization. I’m confident that these two business leaders will bring significant value to our clients, partners, and the company in their new positions.”

Former Ford Canada chief named new FordDirect CEO

DEARBORN, Mich. - 

FordDirect announced that it named former Ford Motor Co. director of U.S. sales Dianne Craig to serve as its new chief executive officer, a move that was effective Tuesday.

Craig brings more than brings 30 years of experience in automotive sales and marketing, as well as deep relationships with Ford and Lincoln dealers across the U.S. and Canada.

Prior to her role as U.S sales director at Ford, Craig also served as president and CEO of Ford of Canada. In that role, she lead Canada’s national headquarters, three regional offices, two branch offices, three vehicle assembly and manufacturing plants and two parts distribution centers.

“We’re excited to welcome Dianne to FordDirect,” FordDirect chairman Bill Keith said in a news release announcing Craig’s appointment. “The board is confident that her experience in the field, leadership and strong dealer relationships will help FordDirect continue the digital transformation to meet our mission of helping Ford and Lincoln dealers provide industry-leading sales and service to our customers.”

Since joining Ford in 1986, Craig’s background includes a variety of sales and marketing positions pertaining to advertising, field operations, product marketing and contests and incentives.

Her field experience includes serving as both a general manager for Ford's Southeast market and a regional sales manager in Pittsburgh.

“I have dedicated my career to working with our amazing Ford and Lincoln dealers,” Craig said. “I am honored to now join the FordDirect team to continue driving the business forward for the good of our dealers, our company and, most importantly, our customers.”

 

Cars.com names new SVP of technology

CHICAGO - 

Cars.com has brought aboard a new senior vice president of technology to oversee company data engineering, platform engineering and mobile applications.

Chosen for the position is Fred Lee, who most recently served as chief technology officer at Gamut.com, the company announced Tuesday.

In addition to developing Gamut’s enterprise resource planning, order fulfillment and CRM, Lee oversaw engineering and technology functions, such as Gamut's front-end, API, platform, infrastructure and tech operations.

Gamut is a funded startup within Grainger, where Lee spent a year as vice president of digital architecture prior to taking on his most previous role at Gamut.

“We are excited to welcome Fred as part of the Cars' leadership team,” Cars.com chief product officer Tony Zolla said in a news release announcing Lee’s hire. “For 20 years Cars.com has been a digital trailblazer, delivering an online marketplace for car shoppers to research and connect with local auto retailers across the country while driving the industry forward.

“Fred's deep technical and architectural experience perfectly blends with his ability to transform technology platforms and accelerate growth,” Zolla continued.

Prior to joining Gamut, Lee served as CTO of Belly, a startup, where he led strategy and execution of' product, design, mobile and technology roadmaps.

Additionally, Lee also previously served as chief information officer at the financial services technology company Enova before joining Belly.

Along with managing five data centers and growing the Enova technology team of employees from 100 to 225, Lee launched eight products in six countries during his time at Enova.

In his new role, Lee has been tasked with facilitating technical strategy and innovation that supports a more personalized user experience for both consumers and advertisers.

“It is an exciting time for Cars.com, and it is a privilege to be a part of the company's next chapter,” said Lee. “When I first considered the role, I was blown away by the quality and caliber of the team — all top-notch. I look forward to learning from them and contributing to Cars' growth as we scale its world-class technology organization.”

AutoAlert promotes exec to innovation VP role

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - 

AutoAlert has promoted an executive who has been essential to the development of the new consumer experience management (CXM) platform that the company unveiled last month.

Julian Johnston has transitioned from senior director of product consulting and sales to serve as new AutoAlert vice president of innovation and platform philosophy, company chief executive officer Mike Dullea announced in a news release Monday.

Johnston was an active player in the development of the new CXM platform released by AutoAlert at NADA Show 2018 earlier this year, according to the company. The new solution can draw insights about customers' purchasing habits, as well as predict their next vehicle purchase. 

"I have worked with Julian for almost 10 years and have to come realize that he has a unique perspective on the multi-generational marketplace we have found ourselves in, as well as a remarkable way of connecting the dots that help our dealerships navigate these waters," Dullea said. "He has already had a tremendous impact on our company, and I look forward to continue working closely with him going forward."

Johnston first served as director of product consultants when he started at AutoAlert three years ago.

"Consumer expectations are moving faster than ever, and dealerships are forced to react to that moving target, which makes our goal as a partner to not only provide dealers with an immediate ROI, but to look into the future and make sure we are arming our dealers with the tools they need to have continued success going forward," Johnston said. "I am incredibly excited to continue to play a role in that mission."

Before joining AutoAlert in 2015, Johnston held management positions at Fuzecast and VinSolutions, a Cox Automotive company.

Additionally, Dullea served as VinSolutions CEO prior to joining AutoAlert. Earlier this month, he and David Marod, former VinSolutions sales executive and current automotive industry general manager at Conversica collaborated to integrate the AutoAlert CXM platform with Conversica's AI-powered sales assistant.

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