WASHINGTON, D.C. — John Snow, chairman of Cerberus Capital Management and former U.S. Treasury secretary, will be a key speaker at the upcoming American Financial Services Association's 12th Vehicle Finance Conference and Expo, which is slated for Feb. 6 to 8 at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, Calif.

To those in the industry, Snow may be best known for heading up the private equity firm that recently acquired a majority stake in Chrysler.

When the acquisition became official, Snow said, "The domestic automotive industry has been the backbone of our nation for generations, and today is no different. We are excited about realizing this monumental opportunity to help bring an American automotive icon back to a path for profitability and long-term success."

As usual, the conference is held in conjunction with the National Auto Dealers Association's Convention and Expo to make attendance more convenient for industry professionals.

According to officials, Snow is scheduled to speak 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8.

Prior to becoming secretary of the Treasury for the administration of President George W. Bush, Snow served as chairman and chief executive officer of CSX Corp.

He also held high ranking positions in the Department of Transportation during the Ford Administration and has served on various corporate and nonprofit boards, including the American Enterprise Institute and John Hopkins University.

"Our speaker is someone who chairs a company of growing importance within the automotive sector," explained Donald Gottwald, chairman of AFSA's Vehicle Finance Division Advisory Board and group director and chief marketing officer for HSBC Auto Finance.

"What's more, John Snow has been a prominent figure in public policy. We couldn't ask for a better choice," he highlighted.

The AFSA indicated that its upcoming event will be the first for the vehicle finance industry in 2008.

"With a new Congress and uncertain economic and competitive conditions, you will have an opportunity to participate in strategic, thought-provoking discussions on important business issues with key industry leaders and the NADA leadership," executives said.

"Division members will benefit from the exchange of information and the ability to help define and coorindate AFSA's legal and legislative strategy and special projects to benefit the industry," they continued.

The conference is designed for auto finance and leasing senior management, attorneys, education counsels, in addition to executives representing marketing, operations, data security, e-commerce, public policy, state and federal government affairs. Moreover, officials said dealers, industry suppliers and business partners are also welcome.

In addition to Snow, many other top industry executives are already lined up for the event. Some speakers include:

—Rosemary Austgen: 33-year veteran of Ford Credit, current manager in Global Process Management.

—Harry Goff: chairman and CEO of CitiFinancial North America.

—John Haines: president and CEO of HSBC Auto Finance.

—Gregory Jackson: president of Prestige Automotive Group.

—Steve Lambert: president and CEO of Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.

—Gary Lorenz: president of Wells Fargo Auto Finance.

—Lee Mitchell: Group 1 Automotive's director of F&I operations.

—Ken Rice: senior manager of securitization for GMAC.

—Tim Russi: president of Bank of America Dealer Financial Services.

—Chris Stinebert: president and CEO of the AFSA.

—Annette Sykora: dealer principal of many stores in Texas, and also represents northern Texas on the NADA board of directors.

—Paul Taylor: chief economist for the NADA.

—Dale Willey: president of Dale Willey Automotive in Lawrence, Kan., NADA chairman.

The 2008 Vehicle Finance Conference and Exposition meeting will take place prior to the National Automobile Dealers Association's Annual Convention, which will be held Feb. 9 to 12 at the Moscone Convention Center.

To register, visit www.vehiclefinanceconference.com, or contact the association's meetings and conferences department at (202) 296-5544. The department can also be reached via meetings@afsamail.org.

For exhibit and sponsorship opportunities, contact Tom Thomas at tthomas@afsamail.org.