CARSALES CEO RETIRES AS NEW COMPETITOR COX FINALISES MERGER

CARSALES CEO RETIRES AS NEW COMPETITOR COX FINALISES MERGER
CARSALES will have a new CEO as it takes on a fresh challenger to its crown as the dominant online car sales portal in Australia.

The company's co-founder, Greg Roebuck, who has been MD and CEO of Carsales since 2002, announced his retirement yesterday,  the same day global auto-industry powerhouse Cox Automotive completed its merger with its newly purchased Australian assets.

Cox Automotive Australia combines CarsGuide with Dealer Solutions, Manheim and Sell My Car and presents a renewed challenge to Carsales, which will be headed by current COO Cameron McIntyre from 17 March.

Under Roebuck's leadership the company grew from a loss making startup to an ASX 100 company with a market capitalisation of $2.7 billion. He will also step down from the board to "ensure a clear runway" for McIntyre.

The timing of the announcements was likely a cooincidence - McIntyre is retiring to spend time with his family - but nevertheless, it illustrates the task in front of the new CEO. Chair Jeffrey Browne says the board has absolute confidence in McIntyre.

"Cameron's nine years of service to Carsales have been marked by outstanding performance and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgement in everything he does," says Browne.

Carsales has become a global business and operates in Brazil, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

It has remained the market leader in Australia despite the rise of CarsGuide, which was founded in 2014 as a joint venture between News Corporation and DealerMotive - a consortium of around 60 dealer groups with a combined market share of 30 per cent of all new and used vehicle sales made in Australia.

Cox Automotive Australia bought News Corporation's 50 per cent stake in Carsguide, while DealerMotive has become a 30 per cent shareholder in the new company.

John Bailey, president of International, Cox Automotive says the Australian division is a "true partnership" with the automotive retail and wholesale sectors. Each of the brands under its umbrella will retain its own identity, but will work in a vertically-integrated structure.

"This merger aligns our capabilities in the region with Cox Automotive's comprehensive range of global products and services and will enable us to connect our clients to an unrivalled suite of the most powerful solutions in the automotive marketplace, in a truly differentiated way," says Bailey.

Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, a privately-owned company based in Atlanta that has revenue of around US$18 billion.

Hieress to the Cox family fortune Blair Parry-Okeden was named the richest woman in Australia last year with an estimated net worth of $12 billion.

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