ATLANTA – Cox Automotive’s years-long focus on digitizing the wholesale and retail experiences is enabling clients to pivot faster than ever before—giving them the tools they need to keep their businesses moving forward. And as the company looks to connect more of its digital offerings across brands, the company has named three experienced leaders to new positions supporting its digital inventory efforts: Derek Hansen will now lead vAuto’s Stockwave and iRecon teams while Connie Suozzo and Blake Kennedy will take on new leadership roles in the Manheim Digital organization.
With these new connections between Manheim and vAuto, clients will be able to acquire cars in a way that is linked to their retail strategies and unlock new opportunities for success.
“Our goal at Cox Automotive has always been to help clients sell more cars, more efficiently than ever before, and one of the ways we will make that happen is by more deeply connecting our digital inventory platforms,” said Paul Whitworth, senior vice president of Inventory Management Solutions for Cox Automotive. “With these new connections between Manheim and vAuto, clients will be able to acquire cars in a way that is linked to their retail strategies and unlock new opportunities for success.”
Derek Hansen has been named vice president, wholesale for vAuto’s inventory management solutions, where he will focus on bringing inventory intelligence to bear in finding and facilitating connections between wholesale and retail. To accomplish this, Hansen will bridge the vehicle sourcing and reconditioning intelligence of Stockwave and iRecon with the Manheim infrastructure. Previously, Hansen led Manheim’s digital offsite platforms, including the launch and significant growth of the Manheim Express app. This experience will be instrumental in forging new connections across Manheim and vAuto’s inventory management platforms. Hansen joined the Cox Automotive team in January 2015 as senior director of strategic planning. Prior to that, he served in roles with Bain & Company, Deloitte Consulting and Intel Corp.
With Hansen’s move, Manheim Digital Vice President, Zach Hallowell, has named two new executives to his leadership team. These appointments come at a crucial point in Manheim’s history, when the company’s leadership in digital helped dealers and commercial clients keep their inventory moving and weather the worst of the pandemic.
Connie Suozzo has been named associate vice president, open digital and offsite, where she will be responsible for the overall strategy and growth of Manheim’s dealer offsite efforts, with a strong focus on Manheim Express and the company’s flagship digital properties: Manheim.com and OVE. With deep experience in IT services and operations, Suozzo joined Manheim in 2013 and has held various leadership positions since. Most recently, she led Manheim Digital’s upstream client programs. In 2016 she was recognized as a Women in Remarketing honoree by Auto Remarketing.
As associate vice president, private digital stores and optimizations, Blake Kennedy will lead and manage the platforms and programs across Manheim’s private store portfolio, as well as the M LOGIC suite of decisioning solutions, which include pricing, location and other optimization products. Previously, Kennedy spent five years on Manheim’s sales team, working closely with large clients on their digital inventory management. Prior to joining Manheim, he spent 15 years with OPENLANE, where he worked closely with nearly all of the captive finance, upstream and grounding programs.
“As more clients lean into digital channels for their inventory needs, we have the opportunity and responsibility to give clients the tools they need to acquire and dispose of inventory more strategically and more efficiently than ever before,” Hallowell added. “These leaders are the ideal people to move us into this next phase of digital wholesale, and their ability to work collaboratively across groups will help us create new connections across Cox Automotive’s inventory platforms.”
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