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Published on April 17, 2024

Featured Article

AutoNation (AN) Long: 56.1% Alpha Based on CEO Ability

On January 20, 2022, ManagementTrack recommended a long position on AutoNation (AN), driven by the appointment of Mike Manley as CEO. Leveraging Manley’s extensive experience and proven track record in the automotive industry, ManagementTrack anticipated that his leadership would significantly enhance AutoNation’s operational and financial performance.

ManagementTrack’s Investigative Process

  1. In-depth Interviews: Conducted with former colleagues and peers who worked closely with Mike Manley, providing insights into his leadership style, strategic thinking, and operational expertise.
  2. Experience Mapping: Analyzed Manley’s previous roles and achievements, particularly his success in revitalizing the Jeep and RAM brands at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), to assess his fit for AutoNation.
  3. Strengths and Weaknesses Evaluation: Identified Manley’s key strengths, such as his analytical approach and deep understanding of dealership dynamics, and considered how these would apply to AutoNation’s strategic goals.

Why ManagementTrack Believed They Would Succeed

  1. Proven Leadership: Manley’s successful tenure at FCA demonstrated his ability to drive brand growth and operational efficiency, directly aligning with AutoNation’s needs.
  2. Industry Expertise: His extensive experience in both dealership management and automotive manufacturing provided a unique perspective to tackle AutoNation’s challenges.
  3. Strategic Fit: Manley’s skills in digital transformation and market expansion were deemed critical for AutoNation’s growth, especially in a rapidly evolving automotive retail landscape.

Outcome and Performance

The recommendation to go long on AutoNation under Mike Manley’s leadership has resulted in a remarkable 56.1% alpha to date. This performance underscores the effectiveness of ManagementTrack’s process in identifying the impact of executive leadership on a company’s success.

Key Takeaways

  1. Leadership Matters: The case of AutoNation reaffirms the significant impact that an executive’s experience and leadership style can have on a company’s performance.
  2. Strategic Alignment: Manley’s background and expertise were perfectly aligned with AutoNation’s strategic goals, driving operational improvements and financial growth.
  3. Investigative Depth: ManagementTrack’s thorough investigative process, combining peer interviews with a detailed analysis of the executive’s past roles, provided a solid basis for the recommendation.


The success of AutoNation under Mike Manley’s leadership validates ManagementTrack’s approach of combining an in-depth analysis of executive capabilities with the company’s strategic needs. This case exemplifies how understanding the nuances of leadership can uncover significant investment opportunities.

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