AutoNation Inc. COO Bill Berman's abrupt resignation last week, less than four months after he also was named president, is the latest in a series of executive exits from the largest U.S. dealership group.
At least 20 high-level staff members with decades of experience have left AutoNation since January 2014, and at least 17 since early 2015.
Some ex-AutoNation leaders retired, some left the industry and some went on to influential posts at other companies. But they all left, which raises the question: Where do their departures leave AutoNation? In particular, who remains in line to succeed 68-year-old CEO Mike Jackson?
Jackson, who has led the company since 1999, said shortly before turning 65 in 2013 that he planned to stay with the company indefinitely, even asserting that he wanted to work as long as Penske Automotive Group Inc. CEO Roger Penske: "Whatever Roger's in for, I'm in for." Penske is now 80. In January 2015, Jackson signed a contract that extended his employment with AutoNation until at least 2019.