Auto-parts veteran Dumbrell returning to Bapcor as CEO Meehan in shock exit

Auto-parts veteran Dumbrell returning to Bapcor as CEO Meehan in shock exit

Photo: Autobarn, via Facebook

Bapcor (ASX: BAP) has moved quickly to fill the void left by the shock departure of CEO Noel Meehan announced today with the appointment of Total Tools executive and auto-parts industry veteran Paul Dumbrell.

Meehan, who has led Bapcor for more than two years, has resigned from the automotive aftermarket parts group due to family reasons.

Dumbrell, who will step into the CEO position on 1 May 2024, is a familiar face at Bapcor as his family founded Autobarn, one of the key retail businesses within the Bapcor group.

In a further change of leadership looming for Bapcor, chair Margie Haseltine also has advised she will not be standing for re-election at this year’s annual general meeting in order to ‘facilitate an orderly transition’.

“In thinking about the future success of the business, and given Noel’s decision to retire from executive life, we are focused on ensuring that Bapcor has the right executive team to drive profitable growth and the right Board to give strategic oversight to the company,” says Haseltine.

Bapcor this week revealed that it expects pro-forma net profit after tax for the first half of FY24 to land between $53 million and $54 million, down from $63 million a year earlier.

The profit drop is forecast despite a 2 per cent increase in revenue to $1.02 billion as weaker retail sales and rising costs have offset growth in the company’s trade and wholesale business.

Bapcor says Meehan, who was appointed as CEO in December 2021, has led the company ‘through a period of significant change and laid a solid platform for future growth’.

“The role of CEO and managing director is demanding, and after two years leading Bapcor through a period of significant change and transformation and establishing a solid base for future growth, I’ve decided it’s the right time for me, and my family, to move away from executive life and focus on what matters most,” says Meehan.

“It has been an absolute privilege to be the Bapcor CEO and lead our 5,000-plus team members.  I’ve been passionate about making it easy for frontline team members to deliver exceptional service to customers.”

Dumbrell, who takes on the role after five years as CEO of Total Tools, has more than 15 years’ experience heading automotive and retail businesses – including as CEO of Automotive Brands Group which was founded by his father Garry in the mid-1980s.

Under his leadership, Bapcor notes that Total Tools has almost doubled sales revenue.

“Paul is very familiar with the aftermarket auto parts sector and the Bapcor business,” the company says.

Dumbrell was CEO of Automotive Brands Group, which owned the Autobarn and Autopro businesses, when it was acquired by Metcash Automotive in 2012.

He first joined Bapcor when the company, then known as Burson Group, acquired Metcash Automotive in 2015.

Dumbrell was appointed Bapcor’s group chief operating officer for the specialist wholesale division following the Metcash Automotive acquisition, a position he held for three years before taking on the CEO’s role at Total Tools.

“After leaving Total Tools I had planned to take an extended break, but the opportunity to work alongside the Bapcor team is an exciting opportunity and I am very much looking forward to working with the leadership team and board to drive shareholder value,” says Dumbrell.

“I have a long history with Bapcor, and I look forward to seeing the full potential of the broader group realised into the future alongside the exceptional teams within the business.”

Dumbrell has been offered a base salary of $1.25 million plus incentives as CEO. The base salary is higher than the fixed remuneration component of $1.07 million paid to Meehan in FY23.

While Meehan has agreed to provide strategic support to Dumbrell as he transitions into the role, Bapcor has appointed non-executive director Mark Bernhard as interim CEO.

The company says it is currently searching for a replacement for Haseltine as Bapcor chair.

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