Cheryl Miller, who left the CEO post at AutoNation Inc. last summer following a medical leave of absence, has resigned as CFO of JM Family Enterprises after just a few months on the job. The change was effective Wednesday.
Miller, 48, started Jan. 4 in the role with JM Family, a diversified automotive-focused conglomerate in Deerfield Beach, Fla. She previously worked for JM Family, starting in 2004 as an assistant treasurer, and later was promoted to vice president and treasurer.
In a statement provided by JM Family on Thursday, Miller said: "In order to spend more time with family and on other future endeavors, I will be taking on a consulting role with JM Family through the end of the year. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented JM team as they pursue important initiatives and adapt to the continued evolution of the automotive industry."
JM Family CEO Brent Burns in a statement wished Miller "all the best in her future endeavors" and said he appreciated her availability to consult with the company.
"The automotive industry has never been as dynamic as it is today," Burns said in the statement. "Our leadership team and associate bench is deep and JM Family's future is incredibly bright."
A company spokeswoman said longtime JM Family employee Eric Gebhard, group vice president and treasurer, will now lead the company’s finance team.
The spokeswoman, when asked whether Miller could continue consulting beyond 2021, said there's "always potential."
Miller left JM for AutoNation in 2009, joining the nation's largest dealership group as treasurer and vice president of investor relations. She was promoted to CFO in 2014 and was named CEO in July 2019, after AutoNation parted ways with CEO Carl Liebert, an industry outsider who spent just four months as chief executive.
Miller's tenure leading AutoNation also was short. In April 2020, she asked for and was granted a medical leave of absence for undisclosed health reasons and never returned. In July, she resigned as CEO and as a member of AutoNation's board of directors.
In December, Miller declined to comment on her health during her time with AutoNation and what condition led to her medical leave. But she told Automotive News then that she felt "great" and had just run 5 miles that day.
"JM Family is a world-class culture," Miller said then. "And so an opportunity to come back into that culture is like coming home."
Burns told Automotive News for a "Daily Drive" podcast episode this month that the company was excited to have Miller back and that she could provide great auto-retail insight for the organization.
"We're thrilled to have her experience that she gained in that decade when she walked outside the family, but open arms and thrilled to have her back," he said.
Miller, who also serves on Tyson Foods Inc.'s board of directors, filled an opening in the leadership team as JM Family created a new division focused on helping the company grow through acquisitions and investments. The company's former CFO Ron Coombs became president of the new division.
JM Family was founded by auto dealer Jim Moran in 1968 and has grown to include Southeast Toyota Distributors, finance and insurance products provider JM&A Group, Southeast Toyota Finance, subsidiary business DataScan and the JM Lexus dealership in Margate, Fla.
In 2019, JM Family bought Home Franchise Concepts, a home-improvement products and services franchise network that includes brands such as Budget Blinds.