A number of auto manufacturers, finance operations, and government bodies have new people at the helm, ready to leave their marks. The following are AFN editors’ picks for 4 people to watch in 2019:
Kathy Kraninger succeeded Mick Mulvaney as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in December 2018. Kraninger’s first official move was to scrap the CFPB’s name change, determining it would be too costly for lenders, she wrote in an email to the bureau staff. She plans to tackle a number of auto finance issues in 2019, including wrongful repossessions, ancillary products, payday lending, and fintech practices.
Michael Manley, former head of Jeep Brand, was named Fiat Chrysler Auto CEO in July. Manley succeeded Sergio Marchionne, who died that month. FCA said Manley will follow through with the implementation of the 2018-2022 business strategy established on June 1 by Marchionne, a plan that includes forming FCA’s own captive finance arm. “Marchionne was a dynamic leader, but the decision to form a captive runs much broader and deeper than just one person,” Jack Micenko, bank and auto finance analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, told AFN.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is the new chair of the House Financial Services Committee and is already considering legislation to undo some of the structural changes former CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney made at the agency, including the reorganization of the Office of Fair Lending. Additionally, a Democrat-controlled House will likely subpoena auto lenders for information about their practices, bumping up the threat of reputational and headline risk in 2019. “The House can’t make any regulations, but it can put practices into the news to get the attention of a congressional committee,” Chris Willis, a partner at Atlanta-based Ballard Spahr LLP and practice leader of the firm’s consumer financial services litigation group, told AFN.
Mark Templin was appointed the president and chief executive of Toyota Financial Services in August 2018, taking over for longtime executive Mike Groff, who retired. Templin was executive vice president of Lexus International. With an insider taking the helm, Templin “brings a global depth of knowledge and experience in both the finance and automotive sides of the business,” Groff said in the release. “He understands how to meet the needs of our dealer partners and our distributor affiliates.” Groff, who joined Toyota Motor Credit in 1983 as the company’s seventh employee, became president and chief executive in 2013.