Our editorial team took a look at some of this industry's most influential leaders and selected the 10 we believe had a direct impact on the aftermarket in 2005. Beyond that, we believe these individuals have helped set the stage for an even more productive future for the industry. The following is our list for 2005, in alphabetical order.
MIKE COPPOLA - Next to Lead Advance
In May, the board at Advance Auto Parts unanimously appointed Mike Coppola as its next president and CEO, becoming only the fifth CEO in the retailer's 73-year history.
Coppola took the reins from Larry Castellani, following his planned retirement from Advance after five years with the company. Coppola has been with the company since 2001 and was promoted from his previous position as executive vice president and COO.
Since Coppola's appointment, Advance has made two major acquisitions this year. The first was Lappen Auto Supply of Boston, MA, in July. The second was another Massachusetts-based supplier, Autopart International, which was acquired in September. Whether these two acquisitions are part of a larger growth strategy remains to be seen.
It will be interesting to see how Coppola's previous experience in the food retail business will shape the future of Advance. Prior to joining Advance, Coppola was with Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, NY, where he was executive vice president of marketing.
MAX DULL - Steering the Beck/Arnley Ship
After having spent several decades in upper management positions at the various companies that once owned Beck/Arnley, who better than Max Dull to take the company independent?
Following the news earlier this year that Affinia Group was putting Beck/Arnley up for sale, it was Max Dull who orchestrated the creation of a privately held company to buy the former Dana business. Dull, along with majority equity partners Pat Greene and Richard Crawford, as well as other key equity management partners, formed Heritage Equity Group in order to acquire the business.
In March, Affinia officially announced the sale of Beck/Arnley Worldparts Corp., to Heritage Equity Group, Inc., and today, Heritage owns all Beck/Arnley stock. In addition to serving as president and CEO of the independent Beck/Arnley, Dull is also a partner and CEO of Heritage Equity Group.
TOM GALLAGHER - Takes the Top Post at GPC
During what appears to be the year of executive changes, in February it was announced that a longtime aftermarket executive was tapped to take over the top post at one of the aftermarket's biggest players.
Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) announced that Larry Prince would retire from his role as chairman of the GPC board at the end of March. Thomas Gallagher, president and CEO of GPC, was named to succeed him. Prince, who has been with GPC for 46 years, will continue to serve as a director on the GPC board and chairman of the executive committee.
Having been with GPC for 34 years (15 of them as president and COO), Gallagher was described by Prince as 'the right choice' to lead the company. "Tom is known and held in high-esteem by all constituencies of our company, including our employees, customers and shareholders," said Prince.
Gallagher appears to be off to a successful start in this additional role as chairman. The company reported record sales and earnings for the third quarter of 2005, with sales totaling $2.6 billion, up 9 percent from the third quarter of 2004.
GREG HENSLEE AND TED WISE - Maintaining the Close-Knit Family Philosophy of a Public Company
In February, two veteran O'Reilly Auto Parts executives were selected to become co-CEOs of the company as part of a succession plan for the retail chain. Between them, Greg Henslee and Ted Wise, have more than 50 years of experience working for the company. Having worked in virtually every position at the company, their intimacy with the business, and the marketplace in general, are assets that will help the company to maintain its strong foothold in the supply chain.
Henslee has been with the company for 21 years. He was hired by O'Reilly in 1984 as a parts specialist, and has held positions as assistant store manager, district manager and computer operations manager. In 1995, he was appointed vice-president of store operations and then in 1999, co-president.
Wise has been with the company for 35 years. He began his career in 1970 at the retail store level and in 1978, he became the company's first district manager. In 1984, he was named the first O'Reilly vice-president, in charge of store operations, and in 1990, he was promoted to executive vice-president of store operations and sales. In 1999, Wise was named co-president. Founded by the O'Reilly family in 1957, O'Reilly Auto Parts is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories in the U.S. Today, the company operates 1,450 stores in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
According to company Chairman David O'Reilly, Wise's and Henslee's appointments were in line with the company's philosophy of promoting from within.
"We have worked over the last few years to develop a succession plan to effectively and seamlessly transition certain leadership positions to team members who can carry on the O'Reilly tradition of excellence," said O'Reilly.
PAUL FOLEY - Spearheading MEMA's Aftermarket Supplier Initiatives and the Fight Against Counterfeiting
In late 2002, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) announced the formation of a new automotive aftermarket suppliers group. The new group - the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) - was designed to focus on serving and representing the needs of automotive aftermarket parts manufacturers.
Paul Foley, who was at the time MEMA's vice president of aftermarket services and membership development, was tapped to lead this initiative and in a matter of just a few short years, he managed to create an agenda for the group that has had significant impact on AASA's membership and the industry as a whole.
Focused exclusively on aftermarket parts manufacturers, AASA has become a key leader within the aftermarket and one with strong credibility behind it. Not long after the segment was created, the association launched its Brand Protection Council, which has been influential in communicating to legislators the impact of counterfeiting on this industry. This year, Congress passed the "Stop Counterfeiting in Manufacturing Goods Act," and Brand Protection Council members were among those who not only lobbied for better anti-counterfeiting legislation but also testified on Capitol Hill about the effect this problem is having on their businesses.
These types of actions are consistent with the goals outlined as key actions by the association. "AASA will aggressively represent its members on critical business issues by generating dialogue and action, which will help provide a stronger, unified voice for aftermarket suppliers," Foley said at the time of the association's launch.
After a successful four years with MEMA, it was announced in December that Foley plans to resign from his post to pursue a career outside the industry. He leaves AASA and the BPC with a strong foundation to build upon.
STEVE MILLER - Shepherding Delphi Through Bankruptcy
In what has become an ominous sign for the entire U.S. automotive supplier industry, in October Delphi Corp., the nation's largest automotive supplier, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The news came near the end of a year of worrisome headlines from the company, including reports of accounting errors, subsequent firings and news that the company's pension plan is under funded.
In June, Delphi named Robert "Steve" Miller as the company's new chairman and CEO, succeeding Delphi's founding chairman, J.T. Battenberg III. Miller, 63, was most recently the non-executive chairman of Federal-Mogul. With this appointment, Miller also became the chairman of the Delphi Strategy Board, the company's top policy-making group, where he oversees the transformation strategy underway at the company, including its growth objectives and resolution of financial issues.
The man at the helm of Delphi may be new to the company, but he is not new to the role of leading struggling businesses through the restructuring process. In the past decade, Miller has been appointed nine times to serve as a full-time executive in charge of guiding the recovery of several companies, including Bethlehem Steel, Federal-Mogul, Waste Management, Aetna and Reliance Group Holdings.
In November, Miller told Automotive News that Delphi Corp.'s bankruptcy "is a metaphor for nearly every economic and social issue gripping American manufacturing." Miller added that Delphi's problems symbolize more than the immediate financial troubles of U.S. automotive suppliers.
DICK MORGAN - Bringing Program Group Presence to AAIA
When Dick Morgan, president and CEO of Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, steps into his new role as chairman of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) this spring, among his responsibilities will be to help AAIA bring a cadre of new members into the fold with the recent launch of AAIA's new Independent Service Providers (ISP) segment.
Created by AAIA in response to member appeals for a national platform for independent vehicle service and repair businesses, the ISP segment will work to represent the interests of the more than 167,000 independent repair shops in the U.S. When it announced the launch of the new ISP segment at the 2005 AAPEX show, AAIA said it would rely heavily on the input and participation of various industry groups, in particular, state aftermarket associations and WD program groups. Morgan, who has served as president of the Alliance since it was formed in 2000, brings with him his experiences at the helm of one of the world's largest program groups. This perspective will translate well in his additional role as chair of AAIA, and it will be especially beneficial in relation to the new ISP segment.
This new role is also a first for AAIA; Morgan is the first executive from the traditional warehouse distribution and program group segment to be named chair of the association.
LARRY PAVEY - A Respected Aftermarket Leader Steps Down
A respected veteran of the aftermarket, Larry Pavey's departure from ARI in May came as a surprise to many in the industry. Pavey joined ARI in 2003 after a long career with Dana Corp, where he last served as president of its Under Vehicle Group. He joined Dana after the acquisition of Echlin Inc. in 1998.
Shortly after Pavey's departure from ARI, Robert Smith, former chairman of ARI and founder of ARI's subsidiary Car Components Technologies, and his son, Robert Smith Jr., re-joined the organization.
A few months later, the normally quiet company was the stuff of industry buzz when the company announced on Nov. 9 it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Just one week later, rumors began to surface that the entire company and all of its subsidiaries were unexpectedly shut down. Rumors confirmed, it was reported on Nov. 18 that the company had changed its Chapter 11 filing to Chapter 7 and all ARI operations were shut down, giving employees only five minutes' notice. According to an ARI spokesman, the company ran out of money just a week after filing Chapter 11. Its lenders were no longer willing to fund operations. Both Pavey's departure from ARI and the company's closure have left holes in our industry that will be difficult to fill.
BILL RHODES - Leading the Nation's Largest Retailer
Following the unexpected departure of aftermarket veteran Steve Odland from AutoZone in March, William (Bill) Rhodes III was named to replace him as president and CEO.
With the company for 11 years, Rhodes was elected executive vice president - store operations and commercial in 2005. Prior to that, he served in a number of roles, including senior vice president-supply chain and information technology, senior vice president-supply chain, vice-president-stores, senior vice president-finance and vice president-finance, vice president-operations analysis and support. Prior to his time in the aftermarket, Rhodes was a manager with Ernst & Young, LLP.
Having to now walk in the shoes of the sometimes controversial, but highly successful, Odland may prove to be a challenge. Under Odland's management, AutoZone achieved record sales and earnings and stock prices soared under during his tenure. However, Rhodes' 11 years at AutoZone, along with his financial background, will likely serve him well when it comes to management initiatives such as pay-on-scan and the growth of commercial and wholesale programs.
KATHLEEN SCHMATZ, AARON LOWE, RON PYLE and BOB REDDING - Crusaders for Service and Repair Information
While there are many individuals who have worked behind the scenes to either propel or slow the progress of the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act in Congress, there are four individuals who are undoubtedly the leaders in their respective crusades.
On behalf of Right to Repair legislation, Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) and Aaron Lowe, AAIA's vice president, regulatory & government affairs, have been working tirelessly for more than three years to keep momentum going on Capitol Hill for passage of the act. AAIA and others on their side believe that legislation is absolutely necessary because without it, they say, independent service providers have no recourse if the OEMs decide not provide the information needed for the aftermarket to fix consumers' cars. The 2005 session of Congress closed with more than 77 co-sponsors of the bill.
Their counterparts on the other side of this issue, Automotive Service Association's (ASA) Chief Executive Ron Pyle, and Bob Redding, ASA's Washington, DC, representative, are working diligently to move the service information issue forward from another front - through the growing use and interest in the formalization of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), which serves as a facilitator for the handshake agreement first established between the automakers and ASA in 2002. This side is resolute in its belief that legislation is unnecessary because they say the agreement in place today is working. Over the past few months, the groups involved in the volunteer-based NASTF have held a series of meetings to discuss different proposals for creating a formal structure to NASTF, including the appointment of a full-time staff person to handle all administrative duties.
There is no doubt these four individuals will remain closely involved in the progress of this critical industry issue going forward. And unlike previous years, in 2005, we have seen increasing collaboration among all of the groups involved in this debate. Both ASA and AAIA, along with the Alliance of International Automobile Manufacturers, the Equipment and Tool Institute and a number of other automotive industry associations, have been actively involved in the NASTF meetings.
While the future of the 'Right to Repair' legislation remains to be seen, these four individuals will undoubtedly play a significant role in the outcome, whatever and whenever that may be. All of the individuals selected as top newsmakers for 2005 will continue to impact our industry in 2006 and we will closely follow their careers in the future.