The shake-up, which includes the resignation of CEO Greg Miller, is aimed at making the company nimbler and therefore better able to grow, Fitzpatrick said.
The changes will allow the sprawling group -- which includes the nation's 11th largest auto retailer, professional sports franchises and movie theaters -- to be more aggressive and efficient in buying dealerships or other businesses, Fitzpatrick said.
"It puts us in a position to perhaps have some quicker decisions and be more nimble on our feet" by giving more authority to lower-level executives, Fitzpatrick said. "At our current size, things were working OK, but the goal is to perpetuate" the company "and for it to continue to be a privately owned company" held by the Miller family.
He specifically denied that the new structure might pave the way to a sale. "Everything that's going on" with the restructuring, he said, "is just the opposite of wanting to sell, not only the dealership group, but any of the enterprises in the organization."
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Automotive this month closed on its purchase of Van Tuyl Group, which had been the largest privately held dealership group in the U.S. Larry H. Miller Group now is the fourth-largest privately held U.S. dealership group.
Among the changes, the group will get a board of directors largely made up of people outside the Miller family. Board members will be selected "in the near term," Fitzpatrick said.
The Miller family still owns and operates the business, he said, but "it's great to have another set of eyes on it."
The extended enterprise is huge. Besides Larry H. Miller Dealerships, there are five other main companies: Miller Retail Properties, Miller Sports Properties, Total Care Auto, Prestige Financial Services Inc. and Miller Family Real Estate. The group has about 10,000 employees, Fitzpatrick said.
With so many enterprises, Gail Miller, 71, the family matriarch and the company's sole owner, wanted to ensure that the company was set up to handle future expansion and thrive. In a statement, she said, "Larry's dream was for our businesses to survive the two of us well into the future. This change will provide the structure for that to happen."
The new corporate structure will delegate more decision-making responsibilities to the six presidents of those companies.
"The larger the organization becomes, the more difficult it is to run all those decisions through one individual," Fitzpatrick said.
That, however, was pretty much how founder Larry Miller used to run his operations.
In 1979, Larry Miller founded the group by buying his first Toyota dealership, in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. Larry Miller, an acknowledged micromanager, grew the automotive part of the group to 39 dealerships by 2009, when he died of complications from Type 2 diabetes at age 64.
His son Greg, now 48, took over as CEO in 2008. While delegating to his lieutenants far more than his father did, Greg continued to grow the business to 55 dealerships at the end of 2014.
The dealership group, now in another Salt Lake City suburb, ranks No. 11 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 dealership groups in the U.S., with retail sales of 56,182 new vehicles in 2014.
Also as part of the reorganization, Steve Miller, 43, one of Greg's brothers, is stepping down as president of Miller Sports Properties, which owns the NBA's Utah Jazz. Another brother, Bryan Miller, 37, will stay on as president of Miller Inspiration.
Miller Inspiration teaches other companies the business principles that Larry and Gail Miller have practiced over the years. Inspiration, unlike the other six concerns, operates directly under Larry H. Miller Management Corp., which in turn supports the other six enterprises.
Jim Olson, COO of Miller Sports Properties, will assume Steve Miller's responsibilities on an interim basis. Clark Whitworth, president of Larry H. Miller Management, has assumed Greg Miller's duties. Whitworth was previously the group's official CFO and, unofficially, Larry Miller's right-hand man.
Whitworth will report to the board of directors now instead of reporting to Greg Miller. The presidents of the six enterprise groups report to Whitworth. There will not be a replacement for the CEO position, Fitzpatrick said. The six presidents also will assume some of Greg Miller's duties.
Greg Miller will remain a member of the family's board of trustees, headed by Gail Miller. "It's not necessarily that he's abruptly leaving," Fitzpatrick said.
"Greg will be still involved, but from a different role."
Fitzpatrick always was responsible for many of the day-to-day decisions for the dealerships, so they will see little change from these moves.
But the moves position the company, especially the automotive division, to more aggressively expand and grow through acquisitions, Fitzpatrick said. "We've worked hard to continue to build scale and bolster the markets we're currently in," he said. "We'll continue to look at more acquisitions."
Last year, Larry H. Miller Dealerships added two dealerships in the Denver area, renaming them Larry H. Miller Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram 104th and Larry H. Miller Ford Lakewood. It also entered California with the purchase of Larry H. Miller Toyota Corona.
Fitzpatrick said the company would like to buy more stores in that part of the country, plus Texas. He added: "There's been a lot of conversation on Texas."