The race is on for the top job at the National Automobile Dealers Association.
NADA's board of directors has reshaped the top of the staff, adding a tier of management. The board created four 'chief operating officers' who will report directly
to NADA President Frank McCarthy and will be in the running for Mc-Carthy's job.
McCarthy, who has held the top post for almost 31 years, has told the board he will retire Dec. 31, 2001.
'It would be very desirable for one of these four to succeed me as opposed to looking for a new person,' McCarthy said.
The restructuring move is designed to make the association easier to manage. In the past, 12 executive directors reported directly to McCarthy. An association that top-heavy would be overwhelming to a newcomer, McCarthy said.
Now, eight executives will report to McCarthy and will get new titles.
Four of the eight are called chief operating officers; the other four include a chief administrative officer, chief financial officer, chief information officer and chief executive of the National Automobile Dealers Association Retirement Trust.
Departments that no longer report directly to McCarthy are:
Communications and public relations, which will be under public and legal affairs.
The Used Car Guide, which will be under the chief administrative officer.
Finance and real estate, which will be under the chief financial officer.
Conventions, which will be under dealer operations.
Three of the four COOs already have been named:
Phil Brady, the vice president and chief counsel for the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, will be the chief of industry relations Jan. 19.
Bill Newman, who has been executive director of legal and regulatory affairs, will be head of public and legal affairs.
Tom Greene, who has been executive director of legislative affairs, will lead legislative affairs.
The new chief of dealer operations, which includes the NADA 20 Groups and educational programs, is expected to be appointed before the end of January.
McCarthy says all four of the COOs have an equal crack at the NADA presidency. Of the three already named, two have NADA experience. But Brady, the 47-year-old newcomer, has some key experience.
He was with the now-defunct American Automobile Manufacturers Association for six years and prior to that had been White House staff director during the Bush administration. Except for his high-level post at the White House, Brady's background is strikingly similar to McCarthy's.
Both are Notre Dame University graduates and former government lawyers; both worked on Capitol Hill and had previous association experience before coming to NADA.
Although he has been representing manufacturers, Brady has an appreciation for dealers. 'My father and grandfather were both dealers,' he says. 'I drove the parts truck every summer as a teen-ager. I have an appreciation for the dealer perspective.'