At the time of Iserman’s promotion last year, Jackson noted that the move didn’t mean his new COO would have the inside track to the CEO job. Jackson told Automotive News then that the company would consider AutoNation’s entire leadership team to replace him when he retired, as well as candidates from the outside.
In addition to Iserman, he touted other executives including Scott Arnold, executive vice president of customer care and brand extensions; CFO Cheryl Miller; and Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon.
The Penske model
Jackson also said back then that his retirement plans were far off. He previously signed a contract in January 2015 that extended his employment with AutoNation until at least 2019.
In 2013, shortly before Jackson turned 65, he told Automotive News that he planned to stay with the company indefinitely, asserting that he wanted to emulate Roger Penske’s leadership timeline. “Let’s say Roger retires when he’s 85, in which case I’ll be [near] 75. You can then say: ‘Mike’s going to retire in 10 years.’ Whatever Roger’s in for, I’m in for.” Penske is now 81 and continues as chairman and CEO of the rival auto retailer.