Ally Financial promotes Charlotte exec to head auto operations

Ally Financial’s Charlotte-based head of finance and corporate planning has been promoted to lead the company’s largest segment, its auto finance and insurance business.

Jeffrey Brown will continue to be based in Charlotte, Ally said. Ally’s chief financial officer, Chris Halmy, who is also based in Charlotte, will take over his former duties.

Brown continues to be the company’s top Charlotte executive.

The promotion puts Brown over the company’s most profitable segment. Last year, the segment earned $1.5 billion, down 1.5 percent from a year ago after Ally agreed in December to pay $98 million to settle claims that it discriminated against minority borrowers. The accord, announced by the Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, settled claims that Ally Financial and its bank subsidiary, Ally Bank, charged minorities higher interest rates on auto loans than it charged white customers.

Brown and Halmy work in Ally Center, 440 S. Church St., where the company has various functions, such as information technology, finance, compliance and treasury activities. The company also has operations in Ballantyne. Overall, Ally employs roughly 750 people in the Charlotte area.

Brown joined Ally in 2009 from Bank of America, the year after Ally Financial became a bank holding company. At Bank of America, Brown was corporate treasurer.

Ally has narrowed its focus in recent years. It sold its international operations last year and exited its mortgage-origination business. The company’s focus is now on its U.S. auto finance business and banking operations.

Ally CEO Michael Carpenter said in a statement that Brown “has been a critical force in helping to implement Ally’s strategic transformation.”