Former Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz joins Lithia...

Former Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz joins Lithia board

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Lithia Motors Inc. has added former Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz to its board of directors, expanding it from seven to eight members.

The dealership group’s board elected Lentz to fill a vacancy created by an expansion from seven to eight directors on Sept. 30, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lentz’s service on the board began Oct. 1, Lithia said in the filing.

Lentz, 66, retired from Toyota in March 2020. He had been with Toyota for 38 years and began his automotive career as a management trainee in Ford Motor Co.’s Denver region in 1978.

A 2017 Automotive News All-Star, Lentz oversaw the expansion of Toyota’s North American sales and operations, while guiding the company during a crisis over unintended acceleration in late-model cars. He also helped steer Toyota North America’s successful corporate relocation from Southern California to greater Dallas.

Lithia said Lentz will receive an annual retainer of $100,000 as compensation for his board duties, to be paid in equal monthly installments. Lentz also was granted restricted stock units with a value of $99,000 that will vest upon meeting certain conditions and targets, Lithia said.

Lithia, in the filing, said it anticipates that Lentz will serve on the board’s compensation and audit committees.

Company founder Sid DeBoer is chairman of Lithia’s board.

Lithia, of Medford, Ore., ranked No. 2 on Automotive Newsmost recent list of the top 150 dealership groups, retailing 260,738 new vehicles in 2021.

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