Steve Landers Reducing Ownership in RLJ

by Gwen Moritz  on Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012 11:26 am  

Auto dealer Steve Landers Sr. is stepping down as president of RLJ-McLarty-Landers Auto Holdings LLC and selling the majority of his stock to the other partners in the Little Rock auto conglomerate, CFO Paul Hart confirmed to Arkansas Business on Tuesday.

Franklin McLarty, who has been senior vice president since the company was founded in 2005, will become president

Hart confirmed details first reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: that Landers, who has been president of the company, will be reducing his ownership and his role in a planned transition that is, in part, related to his continuing health. Landers, who has appeared in television ads in a wheelchair and even a hospital bed, is scheduled to have another in a long series of knee surgeries, Hart said.

The other partners in the business are McLarty Group, led by Franklin McLarty's father, Thomas "Mack" McLarty, and Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television.

"Steve Landers is the best 'car guy' in the country," Johnson said in a prepared statement. "In fact, in my opinion, he is the 'Michael Jordan' in the car dealership business. We have developed a strong professional and personal friendship over the years and he was absolutely critical in the launch and growth of RLJ-McLarty-Landers. I look forward to working with Steve as a senior adviser, and I know he will continue to be successful in his future endeavors."

The RLJ company, which is among Arkansas' largest private companies, reported sales in excess of $1 billion last year. It is a separate business from the auto dealerships that Landers owns and operates with his two sons, Steve Jr. and Scott.

"We are appropriately proud of the organization we've built and the success we have achieved in the last several years," Mack McLarty said in the release. "Steve is a great partner and friend. We look forward to our continued efforts with him in RLJ-McLarty-Landers and our international automotive activities."



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