Rowley to take Schwartz’s place at top of Cox Automotive


The top leader at Cox Automotive is set to change.

On Tuesday afternoon, Cox Enterprises named Steve Rowley as the new president of Cox Automotive, which includes Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Dealertrack, vAuto and Manheim through an action that’s effective Monday.

Rowley is getting the position from Sandy Schwartz, who is moving to a role as chief executive officer of the Cox Family Office, according to a news release.

The company also said Keith Holmes, senior vice president of residential sales for Cox Communications, will become executive vice president of Cox Business.

Rowley joins Cox Automotive from his role as executive vice president of Cox Business, the commercial division of Cox Communications. The company highlighted Rowley’s leadership has been an integral part of transforming Cox Business into a large growth engine for Cox Communications through operational execution and acquisition.

Cox also emphasized Rowley brings deep experience leading through change and disruption in the wireless, cable and telco industries, an invaluable asset as Cox Automotive continues to integrate, innovate and transform the way the world buys, sells, owns and uses vehicles.

Steve Rowley

Meanwhile, Schwartz will move into a new position as CEO of the Cox Family Office. There, the company said Schwartz will use his 35 years of experience at Cox to work with the company’s shareholders and bring his business acumen to family investments.

Schwartz will continue to oversee Cox newspapers in Atlanta and Dayton, Ohio, and until the end of the year, will retain the title of CEO at Cox Automotive, according to the company.

“Cox is fortunate to have such a strong leadership bench,” said Alex Taylor, president and CEO of Cox Enterprises.

“Both Steve and Keith have great track records with our company and I know will keep us on a path of innovation and growth,” Taylor continued. “I trust them both to treat their employees and customers with great integrity. And I’m thrilled Sandy will still be with us thinking through strategy on the family side of the business.”

As president of Cox Automotive, the company indicated Rowley will immediately begin working with Schwartz to transition duties and oversight of the company with a focus on engaging with dealer customers.

“It’s a huge honor to be asked by Alex and Sandy to lead this incredible business,” Rowley said. “Cox Automotive is helping the industry make a sharp right turn toward technology and digitization and I’m ready to listen to our customers and give them innovative solutions for the way forward. I grew up dreaming about fast sports cars, and now I can drive forward the company with the most horsepower in the automotive market.”

Replacing Rowley as the head of Cox Business is Holmes. Under Holmes’ leadership, Cox noted that the residential sales team continued to adapt and find new ways to drive sales and retain customers in an ultra-competitive marketplace.

Holmes brings 30 years of experience to this new role and held several leadership positions at AT&T prior to joining Cox Communications.

“Keith Holmes has the right mix of creativity and agility to anticipate customer needs, post strong results and grow Cox Business annual revenue,” Cox Communications president and CEO Pat Esser said.

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