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From the editor: Women continue to fill prominent automotive executive roles, which is awesome

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Probably not many individuals would dispute the point that Cox Automotive has vast of number of resources. Anyone who walked through the expo hall at NADA Show 2022 could literally see that with their own eyes.

As a result of those resources, we here at Cherokee Media Group receive multiple messages regularly from the Cox Automotive family; whether it’s the latest figures involving certified pre-owned sales, wholesale prices or credit availability.

When another of those messages arrived late this week, a component of it immediately caught my attention. The news release announced that Cox Automotive Retail Solutions made several key changes to its leadership team.

And all five executives mentioned in the announcement were women.

To mimic longtime sports broadcaster Tim Brando, “How about that?!”

According to that news release, Cox Automotive Retail Solutions president Lori Wittman said among the changes, Mandi Fang became the new senior vice president of client operations and Tracy Noonan Fred became the new senior vice president of dealer solutions. Both will now report directly to Wittman.

Joining Wittman’s team is Cheryl Miller, who will continue in her role as vice president of lender solutions. Jessica Stafford continues to report to Wittman in her role as SVP of consumer solutions but will now lead the combined consumer marketing power of Dealer.com, Autotrader, and Kelley Blue Book within Cox Automotive’s Retail group.

“With these promotions and alignments, Cox Automotive Retail Solutions is poised to lead our clients confidently into this new era of automotive retailing,” Wittman said in the news release. “This leadership team’s experience, determination, and passion will fuel the transformation of the automotive industry and drive greater success for our clients and partners.”

Certainly, this new era of automotive retailing includes the technology these five women oversee for Cox Automotive. But it’s also a new era for what it’s like at least at dealerships. In many stores, long gone are the stereotypes in the spotlight of these dealer commercials from a decade ago where the ad hook was “Tired of getting badgered?”

In one of the spots, the badger — characterized to be a chauvinistic male salesperson down to the plaid sport coat — quips to the potential buyer who was female, “there’s the rearview mirror where you can put on your makeup!”

Forward-thinking dealerships and big corporations such as Cox Automotive certainly are not the only industry shops lifting women to their well-deserved place in leadership. Celebrating that progress is part of the reason why we Cherokee Media Group created some of the awards programs we’ve orchestrated for many years now. They include Women in Remarketing, Women in Retail, Women in Auto Finance and new this year, Women in Collections and Recoveries.

All the newest honorees will be celebrated during Used Car Week, which begins Nov. 14 in San Diego. Perhaps you can make the trip to lovely southern California during the week before Thanksgiving to meet them in person and hear their stories about how they flourished to their respective positions.

In that latest news release from Cox Automotive, what Wittman said about her executive team rings true about a host of women in automotive leadership today.

“These women were purposefully selected for their innovative ideas and inclusive ways of motivating their teams to achieve goals, streamline processes and leverage technology to create a consistent, seamless client experience,” Wittman said.

Nick Zulovich is senior editor with Cherokee Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]

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