Finbarr O'Neill to retire as CEO of J.D. Power; search for successor underway


Finbarr O’Neill: “This is a good time for me to hand off to the next generation of leadership.”

Finbarr O’Neill plans to retire as CEO of J.D. Power in March 2018, the company said Wednesday.

J.D. Power’s board has enlisted executive search firm Egon Zehnder to help identify a successor for O’Neill, who previously led Hyundai Motor America, Mitsubishi North America and Reynolds & Reynolds.

O’Neill, 65, will remain with the company during the transition as the new CEO assumes the role. He will then act as a senior adviser to the Costa Mesa, Calif., company.

“We are deeply grateful to Fin for his leadership of J.D. Power,” Joseph Pacini, CEO of parent company XIO Group, said in a statement. “During his tenure, the firm has expanded globally and increased its sector expertise, while maintaining the firm’s core brand values of independence and integrity.”

In his 10 years with J.D. Power, O’Neill led the company during a period of growth and change, including the firm’s expansion into data and analytics and its recent entrance into the business-to-consumer market through the acquisition of National Appraisal Guides.

J.D. Power acquired NAG in August for an undisclosed amount. It marks the company’s first endeavor into the consumer market.

O’Neill also led J.D. Power’s transition of ownership from S&P Global (formerly McGraw Hill Financial) to XIO, a London private equity firm.

“In an increasingly mobile and connected world, J.D. Power is poised for even greater growth,” O’Neill said in a statement. “This is a good time for me to hand off to the next generation of leadership.”

Top appointments under O’Neil include new Chief Digital Officer Bernardo Rodriguez; Senior Vice President of Automotive Doug Betts and Senior Vice President of Data & Analytics Thomas King.

A company spokesman said J.D. Power hopes to name a new CEO prior to March to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

Bloomberg News reported the new CEO could be tasked with taking the company public and leading an initial public offering as soon as next year. 

NAG acquisition 

J.D. Power, meanwhile, acquired NAG, or National Appraisal Guides, in August for an undisclosed amount. It marks J.D. Power’s first endeavor into the consumer market, gaining control of NAG’s well-known and its 9 million monthly website visitors.

The deal, according to officials, increases J.D. Power’s digital capabilities, consumer expertise and “new specialty valuations (e.g. motorcycles, RVs, classic cars, boats) into the J.D. Power family.” It also supports XIO Group’s strategy to grow the company’s data and analytics business.

“Given the disruption in the automotive industry, including major changes in the new, used and specialty vehicle markets, the transaction gives J.D. Power even greater access to key data for its traditional institutional customer base,” said the company in a document outlining the acquisition.

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