Dealer group notes: Actions by Castle & Penske

While Penske Automotive Group made moves connected with its shareholders, Castle Automotive Group (CAG) reinforced its executive leadership team in the past week.

CAG, which currently owns nine dealership locations with 14 franchises throughout Illinois and Northwest Indiana, chose Sean Seltzer to lead its marketing strategy as chief marketing officer.

Castle also promoted David Ortiz to be vice president of variable operations.

Seltzer joins Castle with more than 25 years of marketing, sales, and executive management experience, which includes stints in South Florida for Ford, leading marketing for a division of Volkswagen of America, being the North American sales manager at Ferrari-Maserati North America and managing a division of Kelley Blue Book.

CAG chief executive officer Joe Castle highlighted through a news release that Seltzer’s entrepreneurial background, OEM experience and digital marketing leadership will be a valuable asset as the CMO for the group.

“As Castle Automotive Group continues to expand its dealership portfolio through acquisitions and is focused on modernizing the automotive retail experience through its digital assets, Sean will be a crucial part of my leadership team in preparation for the growth and scale we will need to execute our vision,” Castle said.

Meanwhile, CAG said in another news release that Ortiz’s promotion comes as part of the organization’s strategy to further accelerate Castle’s growth, taking advantage of his vast knowledge and expertise in the ever-changing demands from its customers and their dealership experience.

“David Ortiz is a vital executive on my team with an insane work ethic,” Castle said in the other news release. “His vision for what the sales and customer experience in automotive retail needs to be from the time they hit our websites through the purchase and after purchase experience will set our organization up for success well into the future. I am excited to see David grow and take on this mission.”

The group added that Ortiz will be an integral part of CAG’s expansion with a primary focus on modernizing the automotive retail experience through a streamlined, frictionless approach to buying and selling vehicles. 

“David is an important asset to our group. He has demonstrated a broad understanding of store operations, integrating our acquisitions and growing our platforms in step with Castle’s growth strategy,” CAG chief operating officer Bob Poltiza said.

“With his entrepreneurial background and approach to leading teams, he will help us better leverage our talented employees and enable us to capture potential faster,” Poltiza went on to say.

Penske’s stock moves

In other dealer group news, Penske announced last week that its board of directors has increased the company’s dividend by 6.4%, or $0.03 per share, to $0.50 per share.

According to a news release, the dividend is payable June 1 to shareholders of record on May 23.

“During the first quarter of 2022, Penske Automotive Group generated $381 million in cash flow from operations,” Penske Automotive Group president Robert Kurnick said in the news release.

“Based on this strong cash flow, and the continued strength of the company’s diversified business model, we are delighted to provide our shareholders with another increase in the cash dividend,” Kurnick continued.

Additionally, Penske’s board of directors increased the company’s share repurchase authorization to $250 million. 

From Jan. 1 through April 30, the company had repurchased 1.9 million shares for $184.1 million, leaving it with $46.3 million available as of April 30.