Group 1 exec is RLJ McLarty Landers' new COO
RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive Holdings of Little Rock, Ark., named David Hult COO. Hult, 47, is the former vice president of fixed operations and marketing for Group 1 Automotive Group Inc.'s U.S. operations.
His appointment comes after news in December that the group's president, Arkansas dealer Steve Landers, 59, was stepping away from his partnership and Franklin McLarty, 38, would take the reins of the group.
McLarty, the CEO, is the son of Mack McLarty, 66, former chief of staff in the Clinton administration and a partner in the group. Robert Johnson, 66, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, also is a partner in the venture. Landers remains a senior adviser to the group. Franklin McLarty most recently was the dealership group's senior vice president. He told Automotive News he is not looking to take the company in a different direction but expects to oversee its "natural maturation and evolution."
"We think there is a great opportunity to take the next natural step as we coordinate some of our activities and maximize the benefit of our scale," he said.
Hult joined Group 1 in 2000 when it bought Ira Motor Group, including Ira Toyota of Danvers, Mass., where he was general manager.
He joined Penske Automotive Group Inc. in 2003 as its general manager of Central Florida Toyota, returning to Group 1 in 2004 to be COO of its Ira group. He held numerous executive positions at Group 1 prior to his departure last summer.
RLJ McLarty Landers ranks No. 19 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups in the United States with retail sales of 18,885 new vehicles in 2011.
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