A Group 1 Automotive Inc. director has resigned, citing a potential conflict of interest related to her employer, Berkshire Hathaway, and its pending purchase of the Van Tuyl dealership group.
The director, Beryl Raff, gave up her seat on Feb. 20, Group 1, the nation’s third-largest dealership group, said in an SEC filing today.
“Ms. Raff expressed no disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices,” the Group 1 filing said.
Raff has served on Group 1’s board since 2007. She has been the CEO of Helzberg Diamond Shops, an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. since April 2009, according to Bloomberg, which estimates her age at 63.
She remains on the boards of Helzberg Diamond, The Michaels Cos. Inc. and Helen of Troy Ltd., Bloomberg data show.
In an email, a Group 1 spokesman declined to comment on the timing of a potential replacement. Raff’s departure leaves the board with seven members, according to Bloomberg.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy Van Tuyl Group, the largest privately owned U.S.-based auto dealership group, in October. The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks, sources said.
The business, with 75 dealerships at the end of 2013, will be renamed Berkshire Hathaway Automotive and will continue to be run by Larry Van Tuyl.
In an interview with CNBC in October, Buffett said the acquisition would be in the form of an all-cash deal. Terms weren’t disclosed, but buy-sell experts estimate the value of Van Tuyl at about $4 billion.
“I fully expect we’ll buy a lot more dealerships over time,” Buffett said last fall.
Group 1 ranks No. 3 on the latest Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups based in the United States, with retail sales of 155,866 new vehicles in 2013.