Monro Muffler Brake, a leading provider of automotive undercar repair and tire services, announced today that it has elected Brett Ponton as its next President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Ponton, an executive with more than 20 years of senior management experience in the auto and tire service industry, most recently served as CEO of American Driveline Systems, the parent company of AAMCO Transmissions & Total Car Care. Mr. Ponton will succeed John Van Heel, who has decided not to renew his long-term contract when it expires on October 1, 2017. Monro also announced the election of lead director Robert Mellor as independent Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The transition comes at a time of dynamic evolution and opportunities for the rapidly growing company, which has 1,118 Company-operated stores and 114 franchised locations in 27 states. In fiscal 2017, Monro’s sales totaled a record $1.022 billion, 8% more than the previous year. In the past 15 years, Monro has made 42 acquisitions; the stores it acquired in fiscal 2017 are projected to add $150 million in annualized sales over fiscal 2016.
“Monro is very pleased to welcome Brett Ponton as its next President and CEO. His deep industry expertise and contacts, his success running both franchise and company-operated automotive service and tire stores and his proven leadership skills will help accelerate Monro’s successful acquisition strategy. He is the right person to lead Monro at this stage in its growth,” Mr. Mellor said.
Mr. Ponton said: “It is an honor to be chosen as President and CEO of Monro. Since its founding 60 years ago, Monro has been an auto care pioneer with a sterling reputation and strong portfolio of retail outlets. Monro is well positioned to continue its tremendous growth through increasing same-store sales, acquiring competitors and expanding into new markets. I look forward to working with the Company’s talented professionals to expand the offerings and unparalleled service Monro is known for.”
Mr. Ponton will join Monro as President on August 1, 2017, and assume the CEO role on October 2, 2017. To facilitate the transition, Mr. Van Heel will serve as an advisor to Monro for six months following the end of his contract.
Mr. Van Heel said, “It has been a privilege for me to be a part of the outstanding growth story at Monro. I am proud of the accomplishments of our team and want to thank each of our employees for their hard work and dedication to Monro, our customers and me. Also, we are grateful to Rob Gross for his outstanding leadership and contributions to the Company over the past 18 years.”
Monro operates in the $197 billion “Do-It-For-Me” segment of the U.S. automotive aftermarket industry, which will benefit from favorable industry trends including a rising number of vehicles on the road as well as the increasing age and complexity of vehicles. These factors make it more challenging for motorists to do their own repairs.
The Company recently completed the acquisition of 16 stores from a Car-X franchisee, including 13 locations in Illinois and three in Iowa. The sum total of the Company’s acquisitions completed in fiscal 2017 are expected to represent 16% in annualized sales growth over fiscal 2016.