EDMONTON, Aug. 9, 2018 /CNW/ - AutoCanada Inc. ("AutoCanada" or the "Company") (TSX: ACQ), a multi-location North American automobile dealership group, today announced several changes to the composition of its executive management team and its Board of Directors. As previously announced, the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of the Company, appointed in June 2018, has been conducting a strategic review to explore a range of alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including changes to the composition of the executive management team and the Board.
Michael Rawluk, the President of the Company, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Company. Since being appointed as President on July 3, 2018, Mr. Rawluk has undertaken a comprehensive review of store operations and dealer services and has developed a go-forward plan under the supervision of the Special Committee with the goal of enabling the Company to achieve operating margins comparable to the best of the public auto dealers in the United States. Mr. Rawluk was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the Birchwood Automotive Group's 22 dealerships in Winnipeg, where he began his automotive career more than 15 years ago.
William "Bill" Berman has been appointed as the President, United States. Mr. Berman was previously the President and Chief Operating Officer of AutoNation, North America's largest automotive retailer, where he had over 20 years of experience establishing a solid track record of leadership and operational excellence.
Stephen Green and Elias Olmeta have been appointed to the Board of Directors. Mr. Green previously served as Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Secretary of IHS (now IHS Markit), a global information provider. Mr. Olmeta is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Mitchell International, a provider of software to the automotive industry. As previously announced, Gordon Barefoot has retired from the Board following the quarterly meeting of the Board.
Steven Landry has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer effective today and has been appointed as an advisor to AutoCanada, focused on OEM relationships and dealership acquisitions. Christopher Burrows has resigned from his position as Chief Financial Officer effective August 10, 2018 and will remain as an advisor for three months to effect an orderly transition. The Company has commenced a search for a new Chief Financial Officer.
Paul Antony, the Chairman of the Board, will assume the role of Executive Chairman. Mr. Antony has stepped down as a member of the Governance and Compensation Committee, Mr. Olmeta has joined the Audit Committee, Mr. Green has joined the Governance and Compensation Committee and Maryann Keller has been appointed as the Lead Independent Director.
"I would like to thank Steven and Chris for their dedicated service to AutoCanada. They have been instrumental in helping AutoCanada evolve from a founder-owned and operated company largely concentrated in Western Canada, into a national auto retailer," said Paul Antony, Executive Chairman. "I would also like to welcome Michael, Stephen and Elias to the Board and Bill as President, United States. I am very pleased that we were able to add such highly accomplished and experienced individuals to the AutoCanada team. Their experience will be invaluable as AutoCanada enters the next phase of its evolution."
"I am confident that we have the right team in place to enhance value for shareholders, by delivering long-term profitable growth centered on operational excellence, while selectively acquiring high quality dealerships that fit our criteria," said Michael Rawluk, President. "Since joining the Company last month, I have been highly impressed by the AutoCanada team. The additions announced today will solidify our team that will lead the next phase for the Company."
Biographies of the new directors and members of management are below:
Mr. Rawluk joined AutoCanada Inc. in the role of President in June 2018. Previously he was Chief Operating Officer at Birchwood Automotive Group, Winnipeg's largest network of automotive retailers with 22 franchised operations. In that capacity, he was responsible for day-to-day operations and long-term growth of the business. During his 15 years at Birchwood he held several other operational roles and managed some of the Group's dealerships. He also holds an MBA from the University of Manitoba.
William "Bill" Berman most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer of AutoNation, the largest automotive retailer in North America. Mr. Berman was responsible for AutoNation's 26,000 associates and the operational performance of the Company's 300+ new vehicle franchises, including new and used vehicle sales, four automotive auctions and customer care which encompassed service, parts, and 80 collision centers. In 2016, AutoNation generated 21.6 billion in revenue and over 1 billion in EBITDA. Through a successful 30-year tenure in automotive retail, Mr. Berman has held almost every position within a dealership. His comprehensive knowledge of the industry, commitment to personal development, and industry leading performance has allowed him to climb the dealership and corporate organizational ladders enabling him to hold multiple key positions. Mr. Berman is an industry leader and has spoken at numerous industry events such as J.D. POWER and NADA among others. Mr. Berman holds an MBA from the University of Miami.
Prior to his retirement in 2017, Stephen Green was Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Secretary at IHS (now IHS Markit), a leading global, publicly-traded, Information Services company. In that role, Steve led a team of professionals worldwide delivering support to the company through the legal, compliance, risk management and insurance functions. Steve led the successful IPO of IHS in 2005 and multiple successful follow-on secondary offerings and public and private debt offerings. Steve was instrumental in implementing the company's M&A strategy, completing over 70 transactions, including the roll up of companies to establish a market leading position in information and analytics in the energy and transportation industries, including automotive, and culminating in a transformational merger of equals between IHS and Markit. Prior to IHS going public, Steve was general counsel to both IHS and the industrial companies that made up the remainder of the portfolio of TBG, a family-owned conglomerate that, in addition to IHS, included companies with leading positions in various manufacturing industries. Steve holds a BA from Yale University and received his JD from Columbia Law School
Elias Olmeta is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Mitchell International, Inc. As CFO, he is responsible for all matters related to Finance, Accounting, Tax and Treasury. In his capacity as CFO, he works closely with the executive leadership team to ensure alignment and achievement of the Company's financial, operational and strategic objectives. In 2017, the San Diego Business Journal honored Elias by awarding him their CFO of the Year award which recognizes outstanding financial professionals in the San Diego area. Prior to joining the Mitchell team, Elias served as an executive consultant at CarProof, where he worked on strategy and operational initiatives. Prior to CarProof, Elias held positions at Solera Holdings; first as their Senior Vice President of Corporate Development where he was responsible for Mergers and Acquisitions on a worldwide basis, and subsequently as Chief Financial & Operating Officer of North America leading Finance, Sales, and HR. Earlier career experiences include positions at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Arthur D. Little International as a member of their Strategy and Organization Practice. Elias holds an MBA in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts, Economics from the University of Rochester.
AutoCanada, a leading North American multi-location automobile dealership group currently operating 68 franchised dealerships, comprised of 27 brands, in eight provinces in Canada as well as a group in Illinois, USA and has over 4,200 employees. AutoCanada currently sells Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, Infiniti, Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Audi, Volkswagen, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, BMW, MINI, Volvo, Toyota, Lincoln and Honda branded vehicles. In 2017, our dealerships sold approximately 63,000 vehicles and processed approximately 870,000 service and collision repair orders in our 999 service bays generating revenue in excess of $3 billion.
Certain statements contained in management's discussion and analysis are forward‑looking statements and information (collectively "forward‑looking statements"), within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation. We hereby provide cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in these forward‑looking statements. Any statements that express, or involve discussions as to, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, through the use of words or phrases such as "will likely result", "are expected to", "will continue", "is anticipated", "projection", "vision", "goals", "objective", "target", "schedules", "outlook", "anticipate", "expect", "estimate", "could", "should", "plan", "seek", "may", "intend", "likely", "will", "believe", "shall" and similar expressions) are not historical facts and are forward‑looking and may involve estimates and assumptions and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors some of which are beyond our control and difficult to predict. Accordingly, these factors could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in the forward‑looking statements. Therefore, any such forward‑looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the factors discussed throughout this document.
The Company's Annual Information Form and other documents filed with securities regulatory authorities (accessible through the SEDAR website www.sedar.com describe the risks, material assumptions and other factors that could influence actual results and which are incorporated herein by reference.
Further, any forward‑looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and, except as required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward‑looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors and to assess in advance the impact of each such factor on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward‑looking statement.