Business

The CEO of a large company in Charlotte is stepping down

After three years heading the car dealership chain founded his father, Scott Smith has stepped down as CEO of Charlotte-based Sonic Automotive to spend more time with his family.
After three years heading the car dealership chain founded his father, Scott Smith has stepped down as CEO of Charlotte-based Sonic Automotive to spend more time with his family. Staff Photographer

After three years heading the car dealership chain founded his father, Scott Smith has stepped down as CEO of Charlotte-based Sonic Automotive to spend more time with his family.

But the Smith family will remain in the top leadership of Sonic: In a statement Wednesday, the company said Scott’s younger brother, David, will take over as CEO, effective immediately.

Sonic also said Jeff Dyke, previously executive vice president of operations, is taking over as president of the company.

Scott Smith will remain with the company “to ensure a smooth leadership transition and to provide strategic advice to the company’s leadership team,” Sonic said.

Bruton Smith, father of Scott and David, and executive chairman of the company, praised Scott as having been “instrumental” in helping to build one of the country’s largest automotive retailers.

“At the same time, we have a very talented executive leadership team, and we are confident that David’s and Jeff’s deep knowledge of our businesses, commitment to our culture, and focus on value creation for stockholders have prepared them well,” Bruton Smith said in the statement.

Sonic, a Fortune 300 company that has its corporate headquarters in Cotswold, reported total revenues of $9.9 billion last year.

Before he was CEO, Scott Smith was Sonic’s president and chief strategic officer since 2007. Before assuming the company’s No. 2 spot, Scott Smith worked his way up the Sonic chain, from washing and selling cars to managing.

David Smith has been with Sonic for more than 20 years. Most recently, he was executive vice chairman and chief strategic officer of Sonic, a position he’s held since March.

Keeping leadership in the family is common for Bruton Smith, well-known as a flamboyant businessman in Charlotte.

In February of 2015, Marcus Smith, Bruton’s son and Scott’s brother, replaced his father as the CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc, which owns Charlotte Motor Speedway.


Correction

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Sonic Automotive as a Fortune 500 company. It is a Fortune 300 company.



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