AutoNation Inc. executive Marc Cannon plans to leave his position as chief customer experience officer, shift to a short-term philanthropic role for the auto retailer and then retire at year-end.
Richard Lennox, a former department store, toy company and jewelry store marketing executive, was named AutoNation's CMO, effective May 15, the retailer also announced.
"It was just a perfect time for me to decide to finish up," Cannon, 61, a 27-year AutoNation veteran, told Automotive News.
AutoNation disclosed the news on Monday. In an email to employees shared with Automotive News, CEO Mike Manley credited Cannon with being a key player in AutoNation's development.
"It goes without saying that after many years at AutoNation, [Cannon] has been instrumental in the company's growth," Manley wrote.
Going back to at least 2017, Cannon served as CMO of AutoNation, before being named to the newly created position of chief customer experience officer in 2020. The role added oversight of technology to ongoing responsibilities heading up marketing and advertising, brand, e-commerce, customer relations and communications.
A key focus for Cannon was helping AutoNation develop digital customer experiences and participating in strategic planning for technology in this area.
"We've made tremendous progress," he said.
Those successes include a relaunch of the AutoNation Express digital platform in December and the debut of the AutoNation GPS customer relationship management tool this year, Cannon said.
He will transition May 15 into a new role focused on corporate responsibility revolving around AutoNation's Drive Pink philanthropic and community activities.
"I always tell people there are three things that are most important to me … my family, God and [the Drive Pink initiative], and what could be better to be able for the rest of this year [than] to help drive our philanthropic and social responsibility?" Cannon said.