AVOCA, Pa. — Guardian Warranty Corp. announced today that John Stultz will be stepping down as president and chief executive officer in order to pursue other interests, and that the new CEO will be Joan Saunders.

Officials describe Saunders as a seasoned warranty industry executive with 18 years of experience from CNA National Warranty. 

From 2002 to 2005, she served as the president and CEO of CNA National Warranty Corp., one of the nation's largest independent providers of service contracts. 

During her tenure as CEO, executives indicated that CNA National Warranty had three consecutive years of record-setting sales performance and was ranked first in the 2003 J.D. Power and Associates survey called "Dealer Satisfaction with Service Contract Providers." 

Prior to serving as CEO, Saunders was the executive vice president of CNA National Warranty, overseeing the operations of the business and leading several initiatives to increase responsiveness in claims processing, expand the product offering and improve service to dealers.

Stultz expressed his support for the change saying, "After over a decade of commitment, I am proud to say that Guardian remains ‘Simply the Best' company in the industry. I have no doubt that I am leaving GWC in capable hands and that the company will continue to deliver its dealers the level of service and quality F&I products they have come to expect from Guardian." 

Scott Schwartz, a representative from CIVC Partners, the majority shareholder in Guardian, added, "We appreciate the contributions John has made to Guardian over the years, and we value the assistance he has provided in the transition to new management. He has built an industry-leading company and we plan to continue Guardian's tradition of excellence."

GWC's Preferred Provider status and long time-relationships with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and the many state independent dealer associations will be unchanged under new management, executives indicated.

Until Saunders begins as CEO on March 18, 2008, Schwartz will serve as the interim CEO, the company reported.

Guardian Warranty Corp. specializes in marketing and administering fully insured auto service contracts to dealers in more than 30 states.

In addition, GWC offers dealers other products, including GAP, glass etch, service contract financing, certified vehicle remarketing programs and floor plan financing.