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Asbury CEO dies of heart attack

Brian Kendrick, president and CEO of Asbury Automotive Group, died suddenly Thursday night, Oct. 4, of an apparent heart attack, according to Tom Gibson, Asbury chairman.

Gibson, the former president of Subaru of America Inc., said today he temporarily will take over Kendrick's responsibilities at the nation's third-largest dealer group.

"All of us are deeply saddened by the unexpected and untimely loss of our friend and chief executive," said Timothy Collins, a director of Asbury and CEO of Ripplewood Holdings LLC, Asbury's controlling shareholder. "Brian was a visionary, and his tremendous energy and enthusiasm will be missed."

Kendrick, 48, joined Asbury in November 1999. He had been president of the DFS Group Ltd. of San Francisco, a luxury-goods retailer, for a year. Before that, he was vice chairman and COO of Saks Inc., the department store chain. Kendrick led Saks in an initial public offering in 1996.

Kendrick is survived by his wife, Allison, and children Jonathan, Megan, and Taylor. The family will soon be naming a charity to which memorials may be contributed in lieu of flowers.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com

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