BREAKING NEWS: Driven Brands Shakes Up CARSTAR Leadership Team

Nov. 20, 2015

Nov. 20, 2015—Driven Brands, which acquired CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts roughly one month ago, let go a number of key CARSTAR executives Friday in a leadership change that included the dismissal of CEO David Byers, Driven Brands Paint & Collision director Jose Costa told FenderBender.

"David Byers did a great job over the past four years, and it was a tough decision to move in another direction," Costa said. "But it was a decision to grow the company in the way we thought would be best."

Costa would not say the total number of CARSTAR team members let go Friday, but that this will be the brand's only major shakeup following the October acquisition.

"This is it, just once," he said. "Now the plan is to double the size of the insurance team, and grow by at least 60 percent the operations team. So, it’s putting more boots on the ground, more resources on the shop level, instead of a high overhead at the corporate office."

Dan Young, formerly CARSTAR's senior vice president of insurance relations, will take over as brand director for CARSTAR. Costa said that move made the most sense for the company moving forward, as "90 to 95 percent of CARSTAR work comes through insurance carriers. Dan has the expertise we need moving forward to grow that vertical even further."

Dean Fisher, former VP of service and operations, was promoted to chief operating officer, and will be the brand's second in command. Melissa Miller, now the company's vice president of operations; Scott Robertson, now vice president of development; and Kim Carrington, now training and development manager, also received promotions.

All other CARSTAR executives were let go.

Casey Lavin, recently promoted to controller, will report to Driven Brands' VP of accounting and finance, Ed Moore.

A source familiar with the situation, who spoke anonymously as the news had not been formally announced, told FenderBender that changes to the CARSTAR executive team had been anticipated in recent weeks—but few thought it included a shakeup of this level.

Driven Brands—an automotive giant that already included organizations such as Maaco, Meineke, 1-800 Radiator and others—announced on Oct. 22 that it had acquired CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts from its equity holder, Champlain Capital Partners.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With Driven Brands’ acquisition of CARSTAR, the company now has a $1.2 billion paint and collision repair division.

Now, throw in CARSTAR, its 240-plus U.S. locations, and its recent year-over-year revenue growth (the company is on pace to set new sales records in 2015), and the newly formed Paint & Collision division of Driven Brands is a $1.2 billion vertical, Costa said at the time.

Costa told FenderBender at the time that the “three brands will work completely autonomous and independently of each other.”

The same day, Byers told FenderBender that he didn't plan on leaving, and that his leadership team would remain in place.

That changed Friday, when Costa met with executives personally, before sending an internal message to the entire company.

He shared the message with FenderBender. It read:

CARSTAR Senior Leadership Changes

As you know, Driven Brands' acquisition of CARSTAR has created a tremendous opportunity to grow the brand through increased purchasing power, additional resources, cross-promotion and increased franchisee profitability.

After a rigorous assessment of the business, we have decided to make several key changes to CARSTAR's senior leadership team. David Byers is leaving the organization to pursue other opportunities. We are incredibly thankful to David for all of his hard work and dedication in helping to make CARSTAR what it is today.

Effective immediately, Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance, has been promoted to Brand President and will report directly to me. Dan has been with the organization for more than 12 years and has exponentially grown the insurance business at CARSTAR. We are confident that Dan will continue to drive incremental profitability and growth for our franchise owners, and that CARSTAR will prosper under his leadership.

There are also several other important changes to the senior leadership team, which serves as a testament to Driven Brands' commitment to cultivating top talent and solidifying our position as a leader in the collision repair industry.

Effective immediately, the following executives have been appointed to new and/or expanded roles:

  • Dean Fisher, current Vice President of Operations, is being promoted Chief Operations Officer and will report directly to Dan. Dean has been a tremendous force within CARSTAR as he developed the EDGE Performance Platform and will continue to spearhead the evolution of this industry leading operational platform.
  • Scott Robertson, Vice President of Development, will report to Dan. Scott's main focus will be to continue growing unit count as well as to pursue new markets and acquisitions.
  • Melissa Miller is being promoted to Vice President of Operations and will report to Dean. Melissa has been with CARSTAR for more than 11 years and will play an important strategic role with system innovation.
  • Cacey Lavin, recently promoted to Controller, will report to Driven Brands' VP of Accounting & Finance, Ed Moore. Cacey will lead CARSTAR’s accounting and finance departments.
  • Kim Carrington is being promoted to Training & Development Manager and will report to Dean.

I understand that change isn't always easy but progress is impossible without it. I know that some familiar faces are leaving the organization but rest assured that their positions have been replaced with strong talent that will help lead this organization and position us for future growth.

I'm confident we have the right team in place to help us achieve our Dream Big agenda, which is to double system sales and increase franchise profitability through innovation and better purchasing. Driven Brands is committed to doubling the size of our brands in the next three to five years. Growth is an important part of Driven Brands' strategy and represents increased resources and opportunities for you as well as all our partners.

I'd like to also point out that the team at Driven Brands currently supports more than 2,000 centers nationwide across three different industries. This unique combination of industry expertise, raw intelligence and unmatched diligence has propelled new ideas, spurred solid growth and increased franchisee profitability.

This is an exciting time for us all and you should feel optimistic about the future as Driven Brands' continued growth creates additional opportunities for your own professional careers.

I look forward to working closely with Dan Young, Dean Fisher, the rest of the team and the Advisory Council to ensure a smooth transition and business continuity.

As I've said before, the lines of communication are open and I encourage each of you to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Jose R. Costa
Group President, Driven Brands
Dream Big. Work Hard.