Bob Brockman was a self-taught computer programmer who started a company in his Houston living room. Three decades later, he was running one of the largest U.S. dealership management system providers.
Brockman now stands accused in what federal prosecutors are calling the largest tax fraud case against an individual in history.
The CEO of DMS giant Reynolds and Reynolds Co. was indicted this month on 39 federal counts of tax evasion, money laundering, evidence destruction and other financial charges. He pleaded not guilty last week by videoconference from Houston. His attorney, Kathryn Keneally of Jones Day law firm in New York, told Automotive News his lawyers "look forward to defending him against these charges."
Brockman, 79, has rarely granted interviews and has preferred to stay behind the scenes even as the company he built, Universal Computer Systems Inc., merged with Reynolds in 2006.
He told Automotive News in 2007 that Finbarr O'Neill, who had been Reynolds' CEO before the merger and was at the time its vice chairman, would take on the public-facing role.
"He knows lots of people in the industry, many more than I do," Brockman said at the time. "He's got a great reputation out there of being a real straight shooter. He's been the voice of Reynolds to the customers the last couple of years. That's his strength. My strength is in product development. If you think about it from a specialization standpoint, that means I'm more of an inside guy, whereas he's more of an outside guy."
Brockman holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Florida and started in the auto industry as a Ford Motor Co. marketing trainee in the 1960s. He followed that experience by joining IBM in its service bureau.