Asbury Automotive Group Inc. co-founder and former Subaru of America President Thomas Gibson died June 20 at his Villanova, Pa., house. He was 79.
Gibson based Asbury Automotive Group in 1994 with monetary help from Toronto-based Onex Corp. and a imaginative and prescient to purchase giant dealerships.
“We are not doing this to make a quick hit,” he advised Automotive News in 1995. “We are building a good, customer-oriented, stable business.”
Gibson was Asbury’s chairman from the board’s creation in 1995 till 2004, a run that included Asbury’s preliminary public providing in 2002. He additionally was CEO within the group’s early years and once more on a short interim foundation in 2001 following his successor’s loss of life. He remained with the corporate till 2007.
Today, Asbury, of Duluth, Ga., ranks No. 5 on Automotive News‘ most up-to-date checklist of the highest 150 dealership teams based mostly within the U.S., with retail gross sales of 109,910 new automobiles and $9.84 billion in income in 2021. It plans to greater than triple income to $32 billion by 2025.
“We are saddened to hear about Thomas Gibson’s recent passing,” Asbury CEO David Hult stated in a press release Tuesday. “As the co-founder of Asbury Automotive Group, he laid down the foundations of our company which has led to our success over the past 28 years. He founded Asbury with the goal of forming a group of ‘the best dealers, in the best markets, with the best brands,’ and we believe that we have achieved his vision. As a Board Chairman in 2002, Mr. Gibson also helped lead our company through IPO — further solidifying our company’s future success. We feel the impact of his legacy at Asbury every day.”
Shortly earlier than founding Asbury, Gibson spent an extended tenure as president and COO of Subaru of America Inc., becoming a member of the corporate in 1982 and leaving in 1993, in response to his LinkedIn web page.
“I cannot say good enough things about Tom and how much he meant to the company and to me,” Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll stated in a press release. “Tom was extremely generous with his time and mentorship, and taught me a lot during my early career at Subaru of America. He had a tremendous impact on the company in our early years and I am lucky to have called him a good friend. He will be greatly missed.”
In the Eighties, Subaru was a high-flying, publicly traded, unbiased importer. But it skilled monetary difficulties later in Gibson’s time period and was taken over by Subaru automobile producer Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. in a 1990 rescue. Gibson advised Automotive News the enjoyable had gone out of operating the automaker’s U.S. unit on the time he left. Gibson’s spouse, Sophie, stated his emotions stemmed not as a lot from the corporate’s funds however from the fixed journey to Japan. “It was wearing him out,” she stated.
Gibson briefly was CEO of services operator SMG earlier than creating Asbury, an concept his spouse stated he developed close to the tip of his time at Subaru. SMG was profitable throughout his tenure, however “I was bored stiff,” stated Gibson, who described the auto business as “in my blood.”
Gibson’s prolonged business profession additionally discovered him working for Ford and Chrysler. His time at Chrysler included serving on CEO Lee Iacocca’s administration group within the early Eighties and on the automaker’s board within the 2000s.
“We moved nine times in 14 years,” Sophie Gibson recalled of her husband’s time throughout the three automakers. “Subaru was our last move.”
She stated her husband continuously mentored others, not simply co-workers however kids of social acquaintances. “They would come to Tom,” she stated.
Gibson’s sister known as him a household man, and Sophie Gibson stated that whereas her husband may work lengthy hours, “he didn’t bring his work home with him that much.” He deliberately stored the 2 worlds separate, she stated. When he got here house, “he was here for the family.”
Gibson was born Sept. 2, 1942. His sister, Nancy Prowitt, stated that whereas “we weren’t a total car family,” Gibson and a few of her different brothers would socialize with mates over a automobile stored on the home. “There was always a jalopy in our garage,” she stated.
But he did not got down to enter the auto business particularly, his spouse stated. Ford “gave him a good offer” after faculty, she stated.
He had a bachelor’s diploma in economics from DePauw University and an MBA from Harvard University. At the time of his loss of life, he was on the boards of Dealer Tire, Alliance Inspection Management and Leader Auto Resources, in response to his LinkedIn web page.