Jackson (left) and Maroone
In a year when retailers were smacked with a rocky economy and supply shortages caused by the earthquake in Japan, AutoNation used sophisticated technology and day-to-day planning to meet the challenges. With CEO Jackson, 62, and COO Maroone, 58, at the helm, the nation's largest dealership group more than succeeded: Revenues are up this year, and profits are way up. After the Japanese quake, senior AutoNation officials began twice-a-week meetings at headquarters to review Japanese-brand inventory and pricing strategy. A software pricing tool in pilot testing was adopted throughout the company to help get the highest price possible on scarce models. Despite the shortages, AutoNation set a per-share profit record in the third quarter.