Howson to leave AHG

CEO and MD to retire after nearly three decades at the firm

Howson to leave AHG
Bronte Howson will stay for a period to help with the transition.


After 17 years of overseeing remarkable growth at Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) Bronte Howson will hand over the reins in stages ending in the new year.

Stepping in is John McConnell, the former financial director at UK-based global vehicle distributor and retailer Inchcape, for which he worked for 17 years and is a former CEO of its Australia and New Zealand operations.

Howson will hand over the CEO role on August 29 and MD responsibilities on December 31, at which time Howson will become special counsel under a formal transition plan.

"After more than 17 years as CEO and 28 years at AHG, the time is right for me to take a step back from the business," Howson says.

"I know I am leaving AHG in very capable hands and look forward to supporting John’s transition into the role and working with him over the coming year."

AHG chairman David Griffiths paid tribute to the firm’s long-serving senior servant.

"As CEO, Bronte successfully led AHG’s evolution from a private group with operations largely based in Western Australia to be the nation’s largest listed automotive and refrigerated logistics group, with revenues of more than $5 billion in FY15 while delivering strong returns for shareholders," Griffiths says.

"He has been a remarkable performer over a significant period and leaves AHG as the number one automotive retailer, with the largest refrigerated logistics business in Australia and a solid platform.

"It can be difficult to move on from a long-standing CEO such as Bronte, so I am delighted that we have been able to appoint someone of John’s calibre."

Griffiths says experienced international finance executive McConnell’s immediate availability accelerated Howson’s decision to make way.

AHG notes McConnell’s financial success, helping see Inchcape doubling gross profits from £137 million to £263 million between 2009 and 2015.

"There is no doubt that AHG is a successful group, with an enviable existing platform," McConnell says.

"The challenge I now look forward to is building on that platform and benefiting from the coming transformation we expect to see not just in the cars we drive, but in the way that consumers select, pay for and maintain those vehicles in the future.

"These changes will not happen overnight, but the automotive retail industry of the future will clearly show significant changes from what we see today."



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