Sonic CEO Scott Smith steps down, succeeded by brother


David Smith, left, and Jeff Dyke.

UPDATED: 9/26/18 6:21 pm ET – adds details

Sonic Automotive Inc. CEO Scott Smith is stepping down and the nation’s fifth-largest auto retailer said it promoted his brother, David Smith, to CEO and named Jeff Dyke as president. The two appointments are effective Wednesday.

Scott Smith, co-founder of Sonic Automotive, has been CEO since July 2015. Before being named CEO, he was president and chief strategic officer since March 2007. The 21-year veteran of the company also was a member of the board of directors, where he is also stepping down.

He will take on a new role with Sonic to help with a smooth leadership transition and to advise the company on strategic moves, Sonic said in a statement.

“Sonic Automotive is a fantastic company run by thousands of fantastic employees to whom I am deeply grateful for their hard work and dedication,” Scott Smith said in the statement. “It has been a pleasure and great privilege to lead the company. I am excited to move into a different role that will allow me to spend more time with my family and I am also committed to help David, Jeff and our other teammates with a smooth transition.”

Scott Smith and David Smith are Sonic co-founder and Executive Chairman O. Bruton Smith’s sons.

William Belk, Sonic’s lead independent director, said the management changes follow years of succession planning.

Scott Smith Photo credit: JOE WILSSENS

“The company’s independent directors have strong confidence in David and Jeff,” Belk said in a statement. “We also are appreciative of Scott’s great work over the past two decades and know his continued role as an adviser to David, Jeff and the rest of the leadership team will be invaluable.”

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