AutoNation picks former Gulf States Toyota leader as new COO

Previously, Parent was president and general manager at Gulf States Toyota, a giant independent distributor of Toyota vehicles and parts. Before that, he held several executive leadership positions at Nissan Canada, handling both Nissan and Infiniti brands as vice president of sales and marketing. Early on, Parent was a region vice president for Volkswagen of America, overseeing sales, marketing, parts, service and customer satisfaction for the automaker’s eastern region.

Meanwhile, Steve Kwak, COO, franchised business for AutoNation, will leave the company at the end of December to pursue another opportunity, the company said.

AutoNation has enacted other executive level changes this year.

In May, the company hired Thomas Szlosek, an executive from outside the auto industry, as its new CFO. He replaces Joe Lower, who was shifted to a new role overseeing business transformation initiatives.

Also in May, the company announced that Marc Cannon, its chief customer experience officer, would shift to a short-term philanthropic role and then retire at the end of the year. With that change, AutoNation named former Zales and Toys R Us executive Richard Lennox as its new chief marketing officer.

AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranks No. 2 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 229,971 new vehicles in 2022.

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