GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — In one respect, don't expect things to change much for Leeds West Groups (LWG) after its recent change in leadership.
Growth in the tire and automotive service space remains central to the investment fund's strategy. Derek Wessels, who succeeded Judd Shader as CEO of LWG earlier this year, vows the company will continue to operate as effectively and efficiently as it has since it was founded nearly 14 years ago.
"My role hasn't changed a lot," Wessels told Tire Business. "We've always been dialed in and focused on our teams, the growth of the organization. That won't change."
In another respect, the company will take on a new feel as Wessels, with more than 20 years of automotive retail management experience — including a dozen years at Bridgestone Retail Operations where he held various management positions with Firestone Complete Auto Care — directs the daily operations of the dealership.
Shader has transitioned to a new role: Founder and executive chairman, a position that will allow him to work with the board of directors and help set the direction, strategy and goals of the group.
This story first appeared in the Feb. 6 print edition of Tire Business.
"Timing is everything, and this is the right time," Shader said. "Derek has complete control of the operations. Nothing has really changed. The board will set expectations and goals and direction, and our management team is going to execute on them."
The investment fund operates 123 franchised auto service and tire retail locations in 18 states. Of those locations, 84 are affiliated with Midas and 39 with Big O Tires. Six others are affiliated with SpeeDee Oil.
Colorado, the state where the group was founded, leads the way with 23 LWG locations, followed by Iowa (17), Kansas (12) and Oklahoma (11).
LWG ranks as the 11th largest independent tire dealership in the U.S., according to Tire Business data.
Shader always has been clear about one LWG goal: To keep growing, responsibly and smartly, acquiring dealerships — and as often as possible, the real estate the dealership sits on — as well as identifying and building shops in an effort to bolster LWG's existing footprint.
The target is roughly 12 stores a year.