The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) on Wednesday announced that President and CEO Peter Welch will be retiring at the end of 2020.
Welch, 67, was appointed by the NADA Board of Directors in January 2013 to head the organization. Under his leadership, NADA strengthened its core mission of advocating on behalf of franchised dealers in the federal legislative, regulatory, industry relations and public affairs arenas.
Under Welch’s stewardship, NADA achieved a series of legislative and regulatory victories in a number of areas, including auto finance, tax reform, vehicle safety and international trade issues. Welch also led NADA through the sale of its used-vehicle valuation guidebook and its retirement planning business, oversaw an organization-wide rebranding initiative, led the planning of NADA’s year-long centennial celebration in 2017, and orchestrated the organization’s move to a new state-of-the-art office facility in 2018.
“I’ve had the distinct privilege of serving associations comprised of franchised new-car and truck dealers for 30 years, and it’s time for me to get ready for my proverbial ride into the sunset,” Welch said. “We have accomplished so much on behalf of our nation’s franchised auto dealers. And for the next eight months, I will be focused entirely on helping dealers get through the pandemic and unprecedented economic downturn, and assisting the NADA Board in its selection of my successor.”
“Organizations like NADA are at their best when times are toughest, and right now we’re at our best because of Peter Welch,” said NADA Chairman Rhett Ricart. “Peter is certainly not leaving easy shoes to fill, but the organization he has built and the team he has assembled at NADA have made us fully prepared to tackle any challenge no matter how great, including the one we’re in right now. As we begin the process of finding Peter’s replacement, I take great comfort in the assurance Peter has given us that he will be with us every step of the way.”
Welch’s retirement announcement triggers NADA’s succession plan, which includes the appointment of an NADA Director-led search committee. NADA has also selected international search firm Spencer Stuart to oversee the transition process. Spencer Stuart oversaw NADA’s CEO selection process in 2012.
Prior to joining NADA, Welch held several positions with the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA), the nation’s largest state auto dealer association. From 1990 to 2003 he was CNCDA’s Director of Government and Legal Affairs, and then served as president and CEO for ten years. He was instrumental in the formation of CNCDA, and during his tenure oversaw and influenced the enactment of numerous laws affecting consumer protection rights, emissions and environmental matters, and dealer franchising and licensing laws. Prior to that, Welch was a partner with a Los Angeles based law firm.