Joseph Herman, COO of dealership group Kuni Automotive and a 40-year veteran of the auto retailing industry, died the morning of Oct. 29 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer, the company said today.
He was 72.
Herman began his automotive career in the 1960s selling cars at Shrewsbury Volkswagen in New Jersey while serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Over the following decades, he worked at World-Wide Volkswagen Corp., Porsche Audi Eastern, Porsche Audi Manhattan and Herman + Miller Porsche Audi.
In the early 1990s, he served as the COO for EMCO/United Auto Group, which later became the Penske Automotive Group Inc. He then spent nearly eight years as CEO of the Planet-Potamkin Automotive Group before joining Group 1 Automotive Inc. as its senior vice president of operations.
In 2010, Herman joined the Kuni Automotive Group as its COO. He helped double the group’s annual revenue from under $500 million to $1.05 billion in 2013. In August of this year, the company elevated him to executive vice president.
Kuni Automotive, of Vancouver, Wash., is No. 71 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups based in the U.S., with new-vehicle retail sales of 11,422 in 2013.
Herman was born on June 9, 1942, in Pittsburgh, Pa. He attended the American School in Germany and, following his graduation from Red Bank Catholic High School in Red Bank, N.J., studied at Duquesne University and Monmouth College.
In a statement, the Herman family requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute.