Former Nissan and Gulf States Toyota Jeff Parent Joins AutoNation as COO

Jeff Parent joins AutoNation

AutoNation Welcomes New COO with Extensive Automotive Experience

A former Nissan and Gulf States Toyota executive is joining AutoNation Inc. as its new COO.

Jeff Parent, 58, will start Oct. 16, the company said. He brings an extensive background in areas including sales, supply chain management, business strategy, and operational and strategic initiatives, according to the hiring announcement. Mr. Parent will be tasked with overseeing AutoNation’s daily operations, working with other members of the leadership team to enact the company’s strategic plans and boost efficiency.

He will receive a competitive compensation package, including an annual base salary of $800,000, a one-time sign-on cash payment of $1.5 million, and participation in the company’s annual incentive compensation program. In addition, AutoNation is issuing him various one-time stock payments and making him eligible for annual performance-based stock compensation, according to a regulatory filing Monday.

CEO Mike Manley said in a statement that Parent is “a proven leader with an excellent track record of success across multiple aspects of the automotive and personal transportation landscapes.”

Impressive Career in the Automotive Industry

Previously, Parent served as the president and general manager at Gulf States Toyota, a prominent independent distributor of Toyota vehicles and parts. Before that, he held several executive leadership positions at Nissan Canada, where he played a key role in managing both Nissan and Infiniti brands as the vice president of sales and marketing. Parent also served as a region vice president for Volkswagen of America in his early career, overseeing sales, marketing, parts, service, and customer satisfaction for the automaker’s eastern region.

Meanwhile, AutoNation announced that Steve Kwak, the current COO of the franchised business, will be leaving the company at the end of December to pursue another opportunity.

AutoNation has undergone other executive-level changes this year as well. In May, the company appointed Thomas Szlosek, an executive from outside the auto industry, as its new CFO. Joe Lower, the former CFO, transitioned to a role overseeing business transformation initiatives. Additionally, in May, AutoNation announced the retirement of Marc Cannon, its chief customer experience officer, and the appointment of Richard Lennox, a former executive at Zales and Toys R Us, as its new chief marketing officer.