NADA seeks bold leader who will 'lead more and follow less'
The National Automobile Dealers Association is looking for a president who will take the trade group in a more forceful direction.
That's a key candidate criterion on the spec sheet NADA issued this week for the position. NADA seeks a replacement for Phil Brady, who left the trade association in early August after 11 years as president to take a job at energy company Phillips 66.
"We want someone -- not in place of the chairman -- but someone who will have some visibility and take a little more aggressive position than maybe we've had in the past," said John McEleney, an Iowa dealer who was NADA's 2009 chairman and now heads the association's search committee. "That all factors into the type of individual we're looking for."
NADA is using executive search firm Spencer Stuart, which already has fielded interest from outsiders and internal NADA staffers, McEleney said.
The search committee aims to winnow its list of candidates to a half-dozen or so by mid-October. Committee members will then interview finalists and make a selection by mid-December. The goal is to have a new president in place as early as year end but no later than by NADA's annual convention in February.
To fine-tune the search criteria, Spencer Stuart sought input from an array of constituents, McEleney said. A phone survey included members of the search committee and representatives of manufacturers and government.
While Phil Brady led NADA through the industry's sales collapse, the 2009 bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, and the closing of thousands of their dealerships, the group now wants a more forceful leader.
The resulting spec sheet in part says NADA wants its next president to "lead more and follow less" and to "speak with authority and confidence to motivate, raise awareness and educate key stakeholders on issues that impact or potentially impact NADA and its members."
The call for a more aggressive stance is directed largely at the association's dealings with automakers.
Said McEleney: "We have good dialogue with most all of the manufacturers, and it's ongoing, but certainly there are a lot of issues right now related to two-tier pricing and facilities that NADA wants to be more forceful about."
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