Five automotive retailing experts will explore the effectiveness of the franchise system in the Internet age at next month's Automotive News World Congress.
Participating in the Jan. 16 afternoon discussion in Detroit are William Lovejoy of General Motors; Joel Manby of Greenlight.com; Fritz Hitchcock of Hitchcock Automotive Resources; Chris Denove of J.D. Power and Associates; and Gary Lapidus of Goldman Sachs & Co.
Lovejoy, named group vice president of GM's North American vehicle sales, service and marketing earlier this year, has a history of working with dealers. He was a member of General Motors Acceptance Corp.'s leadership team and head of General Motors Service Parts Operations.
Lovejoy joined GMAC in 1962 and has held numerous management positions. In 1988, he was named to GMAC's board of directors and was president from 1990 to 1992. He had been vice president and general manager of global operations at GM Service Parts Operations since 1994.
Manby left as CEO of Saab Cars USA in April to become CEO of California online retailer Greenlight.com. After joining GM in 1981, Manby helped launch Saturn Corp.'s no-hassle selling as a Saturn regional manager. He later left GM to manage several Saturn dealerships. In 1996, took the helm of Saab's U.S. unit.
Hitchcock is CEO of Hitchcock Automotive Resources, a California dealer network. He opened his first car dealership in 1971 and in 1980 founded Hitchcock Automotive Resources to oversee his growing business. He owns seven dealerships and a body shop.
During his career, Hitchcock was president of the Southern California Dealers Advertising Association and served as a board member of the American International Automobile Dealers Association and California Motor Car Dealer Association.
Denove is a partner at J.D. Power and Associates. He is responsible for automotive retail and distribution research and consulting. He joined the firm in 1986 and was one of the original authors of the J.D. Power and Associates Dealer Attitude Study.
He also is a practicing attorney, helping clients navigate the franchise law system and decipher how issues such as the Internet and nationally branded dealerships have an impact on retailers.
Lapidus, vice president and senior analyst at Goldman Sachs, leads the firm's coverage of the U.S. auto and auto parts industries. He also has been a member of the Institutional Investor All-America Research Team for the past two years.
Before joining Goldman Sachs, he was the auto analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Before that he was a principal with the management consulting firm Booz, Allen & Hamilton, where he specialized in strategy work in the consumer goods and industrial sectors, including the automotive industry.