Larry H. Miller Group of Cos., which owns the country's eighth-largest dealership group, on Wednesday named Steven Starks as its CEO, effective Aug. 12.
Dean Fitzpatrick, 53, a 31-year veteran of the company, will continue as president of Larry H. Miller Dealerships, a role he has held since 2012, a spokeswoman told Automotive News in an email.
Starks, 40, will leave his post as president of the NBA's Utah Jazz and LHM Sports & Entertainment, a position he's held since 2015.
"Following a rigorous, national and internal search, it was apparent to the Board and the Miller family that Steve has a deep understanding of and commitment to our company's 40-year heritage, values and culture," Gail Miller, chairman and owner of Larry H. Miller Group, said in a statement. "For more than a decade, he has demonstrated strong leadership capabilities as the head of several of our diverse businesses, leading operations and commercial functions, and prioritizing the customer experience and talent development.
"Steve will be responsible for the overall design and execution of our long- and short-term business strategies and has articulated a strong vision to ensure we continue to be the best place in town to work and to do business," the statement said.
Larry H. Miller Group of Cos. is headquartered in suburban Salt Lake City and employs more than 10,000 people across the U.S., primarily in automotive, sports, entertainment, finance, insurance and real estate businesses.
The company announced in January that Clark Whitworth, 59, would step down as CEO to be a mission president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whitworth left in March. David Smith, COO of Larry H. Miller Management Corp., was interim CEO through the search for Whitworth's successor, the spokeswoman for the group confirmed.
"I believe in the LHM mission to enrich lives and I am humbled and honored to be entrusted with this new responsibility," Starks said in the statement. "I have a strong appreciation for the talented team behind our everyday successes, and I enjoy the diversity of our portfolio and industries. I look forward to working closely with Gail, the Board of Directors and the Miller family to ensure we operate consistently with our guiding principles, and lead with the future in mind."
Larry H. Miller Dealerships ranks No. 8 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 dealership groups in the U.S., with 2018 new-vehicle retail sales of 68,548.