Asbury CEO Monaghan will retire; COO Hult moves up

Asbury Automotive Group Inc. CEO Craig Monaghan will step down Jan. 1 after nine years leading the company. COO David Hult will replace him, the company said Tuesday.

Monaghan, 60, will become vice chairman of the board until the company’s 2018 annual meeting of stockholders. He will also become a non-executive special advisor when he retires on April 30, 2019.

Monaghan has been CEO and president of Asbury since 2008. Before that, he was CFO for Sears, Roebuck & Co. and AutoNation Inc.

“We are thankful to Craig for his dedication to Asbury since originally joining the company in 2008,” Thomas DeLoach, Jr., board chairman, said in a statement. “Craig is responsible for significant growth and value creation at the company, and we appreciate his willingness to continue to serve Asbury in a transitional role following his retirement.”

He added: “David has already contributed greatly to the growth of the company, and the board is unanimous in its belief that David is the ideal next chief executive for Asbury.”

Monaghan said, “I am delighted that the board has promoted David to president and CEO of the company. I look forward to continuing to work with him to execute Asbury’s business strategy and deliver long-term value to stockholders and other stakeholders.”

Hult, 51, has been Asbury’s executive vice president and COO since November 2014. He will also join the dealership group’s board of directors. Hult has worked in auto retail for more than three decades and has held senior management positions with public and private dealership groups, such as RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive Holdings, Group 1 Automotive Inc. and Penske Automotive Group Inc.

Asbury Automotive Group, of Duluth, Ga., ranks No. 7 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S. with retail sales of 102,360 new vehicles in 2016. It operates 79 dealerships across the U.S.