View all news

John Costello Tapped As Republic Industries President; Seen As Boost To Company's Marketing, Branding Strategy

Dec. 04, 1998

Appointment of Sears Marketing Chief Expected to Accelerate
Drive to Make AutoNation USA a National Retail Brand

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Republic Industries, Inc. (NYSE: RII) today announced the appointment of John H. Costello as President of the nation's largest automotive retail and on-airport rental company. The company termed Costello's appointment a key part in its strategy to build a consistent, compelling national retail presence under its AutoNation USA brand.

Costello, 52, is currently Senior Executive Vice President and General Manager of Marketing for Sears, Roebuck and Co. In his role at Republic, Costello will be responsible for developing and directing the company's brand- building and marketing efforts, and for overseeing the operations of its two major business units: automotive retail and automotive rental. Mike Maroone, President of the Automotive Retail Group and Bill Lobeck, President of the Automotive Rental Group, will report to Costello.

Wayne Huizenga maintains his title of Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Republic Industries, while Steven R. Berrard remains Co-Chief Executive Officer. Costello will report to Berrard.

"It's time to put the accelerator to the floor in our effort to become a premier automotive industry marketer," said Berrard. "John Costello has the marketing skills and retail experience we need to drive us more quickly to this next level. In the process, he and his team will provide an experience for the vehicle buying customer that will be unique to AutoNation USA and to the industry," he added.

Berrard said that Republic Industries has assembled the largest and most highly respected network of new vehicle dealers in the country, while its AutoNation USA used vehicle megastores have made a highly positive impression with a "one price, no haggle" philosophy. "We need to capitalize on this early success by building our marketing capabilities and by providing a uniform retail experience, no matter where or how a customer chooses to do business with us," Berrard explained.

Berrard said that Costello is uniquely qualified to accelerate Republic's evolution into a true marketing powerhouse. "John is one of the best known and most influential marketing executives in the United States. He has played an instrumental role in the revival and growth of one of America's most trusted brand names -- Sears. In doing so, he has revitalized and redefined the Sears brand in a way that has made it more relevant than ever before with its Middle American customer base -- exactly the same customer that AutoNation USA serves." Berrard said.

Mr. Berrard also noted that Costello will be instrumental in fully leveraging the equity of Republic's two respected vehicle rental brands -- National and Alamo.

"John Costello, Mike Maroone, Bill Lobeck and I will work closely together to further refine and execute Republic's business strategies. I believe we will be an outstanding team, one that combines unparalleled experience and expertise in the automobile business with an outstanding track record in retail and brand development," Berrard maintained.

Costello is one of the best-known and most influential marketing executives in the United States. His work in developing the "Softer Side of Sears" campaign helped to completely change the image of Sears, driving significant incremental growth and store traffic. In addition, Costello is recognized for having led brand transformation efforts in a number of individual industries. These combined efforts lead to Costello's election to the Retail Marketing Hall of Fame in 1997 and his recognition as one of the 50 most powerful people in marketing by the industry publication, Advertising Age.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. operates more than 840 mall-based retail stores and more than 2,700 specialty stores, including automotive parts stores, home furnishings stores, and hardware stores. The company has sales of more than $43 billion. In his position at Sears, Costello reported directly to the CEO and Chairman of the Board. He oversaw an organization of more than 400 individuals and directed a marketing budget of more than $1 billion. He was responsible for a wide range of business building functions including Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Marketing Services, Customer Information and Research, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, and Sears Direct Response. He also led development of Sears' Internet and E- Commerce efforts.

Costello began his career at the Procter and Gamble Company, where he held a variety of senior level brand management and marketing positions. He then became Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Pepsi-Cola USA. In 1988, he was named Executive Vice President of Wells, Rich, Greene advertising agency in New York City.

Prior to joining Sears, Costello was President and Chief Operating Officer of Nielsen Marketing Research USA, the leading marketing information and research company. He was also a member of the worldwide technology council at the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation, Nielsen's parent company. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Quaker Oats Company in Chicago and Sears Canada in Toronto. He is also Chairman of the prestigious Association of National Advertisers and Vice Chairman of the Advertising Council.

Republic Industries, Inc. operates subsidiaries in the automotive retailing and automotive rental industries. The Company owns the nation's largest chain of new vehicle dealerships and is building a chain of used vehicle megastores, which it operates under the AutoNation USA brand name. Republic also owns National Car Rental System, Inc., Alamo Rent-A-Car, Inc., and CarTemps USA. The Company owns nearly 64 percent of Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE: RSG), one of the leading providers of non-hazardous solid waste collection and disposal services in the U.S.

SOURCE Republic Industries, Inc.
Categories: Press Releases
View all news