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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ally CEO Brown is leaving to join Hendrick Automotive

Jeff Brown, the CEO of Ally Financial since 2015, plans to leave in January to become president of Charlotte-based Hendrick Automotive Group.

It’s a surprising change given Brown, 50, has spearheaded rapid, successful growth at Ally, which transformed from a government-rescued GMAC after the recession of the 2008-10.

Ally, which trades publicly with a market value of more than $7.5 billion, said it signed an executive search firm to seek Brown’s successor. Shares of the company declined 2% yesterday. Though officially based in Detroit, Brown lives and works from Charlotte, where Ally employs about 2,800.

Jeff Brown

“I am so proud of how we transformed the company from the days of GMAC to who we are today, a more strategically, operationally and financially sound organization,” Brown said in a release. He will stay with Ally through January, but could leave earlier if Ally board chair Franklin Hobbs decides an earlier transition is necessary, according to the release.

Ally recently said it would cut its 11,000-employee workforce by about 5% in an effort to manage expenses.

Hendrick is owned by Rick Hendrick and is the largest privately held U.S. automotive retail organization with nearly 11,000 employees and 131 retail franchises in 13 states. Annual revenues top $11 billion.

“What began in 2009 as the financial reengineering of a company ultimately became a bank that truly matters in the financial industry, and now is the right time for me to transition. Ally is positioned for a bright future thanks to our amazing team and the customers we are proud to support,” Brown said in the release.

Hobbs called Brown “an exceptional leader and fellow director, steering Ally with a skilled, steady hand for nearly nine years. He is held in the highest regard throughout the organization and the banking industry.

Brown plans to discuss his departure next Wednesday when the company releases its third-quarter results.

Hendrick said he had worked on various deals with Brown for many years.

“At only 50 years old, he has incredible experience in both the car business and across a wide variety of complex subject matters from his tenure in the financial services industry,” said Hendrick. “When I look at everything he’s already accomplished in a relatively short period of time, I believe his leadership will put us in a position to grow and be successful for decades to come.”

Hendrick took on the president’s role at his company this summer when Greg Gach resigned to pursue other opportunities, a Hendrick Automotive spokesperson said. Gach was a longtime lawyer for Hendrick and the company before succeeding the late Ed Brown as president in 2020.

Brown worked as a finance executive at Bank of America before joining Ally. He started at the company as corporate treasurer in 2009, when it was rebranded to Ally from GMAC, a division of General Motors.

Brown has been active in many Charlotte civic affairs, including chairing the Queens University board of trustees. He has been outspoken advocate of diversity and inclusion efforts, along with affordable housing.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

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