Sonic CEO Scott Smith steps down, succeeded by brother

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David Smith, left, and Jeff Dyke.

UPDATED: 26.26-1818 21: 21 ET – adds details

Sonic Automotive Inc. CEO Scott Smith retires and the country's fifth-largest car dealer said it promoted his brother David Smith to CEO and Jeff Dyke as president. The two agreements are in force Wednesday.

Scott Smith, co-founder of Sonic Automotive, has been CEO since July 2015. Before he was appointed CEO, he had been president and chief strategic officer since March 2007. The 21-year-old veteran of the company was also a member of the board of directors, wherever he goes.

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

"Sonic Automotive is a fantastic company run by thousands of fantastic employees to whom I am very grateful for their hard work and dedication," Scott Smith said in the statement. "It was a pleasure and a great privilege to lead the company, I am excited to play a different role, allowing me to spend more time with my family and I am also dedicated to David, Jeff and our fellow teammates to help with a smooth transition. "

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

William Belk, the independent leader of Sonic, said the changes in management follow the years of succession planning.

Scott Smith Photo credit: JOE WILSSENS

"The independent directors of the company have a strong trust in David and Jeff," Belk said in a statement. "We are also grateful for the great work of Scott in the last two decades and know that his continuing role as adviser to David, Jeff and the rest of the leadership team will be invaluable."

David Smith has been with Sonic for more than 20 years and was promoted to Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Strategic Officer in March. He was also vice chairman, executive vice president, senior vice president of business development, vice president corporate strategy and a dealer and general manager of corporate dealers. He has been on the board of directors of the company since October 2008.

Dyke, 51, who joined the company in October 2005, has since October 2008 overseen Sonic's automotive operations as executive vice president operations.

O. Bruton Smith said that he was grateful to Scott Smith for his years of service and leadership at the company.

"He has played an important role in charting our course and in building one of the nation's largest car dealers," said O. Bruton Smith in a statement. "At the same time, we have a very talented executive leadership team and we are confident that David & # 39; s and Jeff's deep knowledge of our companies, dedication to our culture and focus on value creation for shareholders have prepared them well."

Sonic, of Charlotte, NC, is number 5 on the list of Automotive News of the 150 largest dealership groups in the United States, with 133,728 new vehicles in 2017. It has 123,489 used vehicles in the same period and number 6 posted on Automotive News & # 39; list of the top 100 dealership groups in the sale of used vehicles.