Autobytel Cuts Work Force and that Includes the CEO

After months of rumors, Jim Riesenbach is out and Jeffrey Coats is in as the new president and CEO of Autobytel Inc., the ailing pioneer of dealership lead-referral services. The firm also laid off 40 employees, approximately 25% of its workforce, and says the move will save $5.2 million on an annual basis. Other moves include several promotions for current executives, including Mark Garms to senior

After months of rumors, Jim Riesenbach is out and Jeffrey Coats is in as the new president and CEO of Autobytel Inc., the ailing pioneer of dealership lead-referral services.

The firm also laid off 40 employees, approximately 25% of its workforce, and says the move will save $5.2 million on an annual basis.

Other moves include several promotions for current executives, including Mark Garms to senior vice president and chief operating officer. Garms has been with Autobytel for seven years.

Coats, 51, has served on Autobytel's board since August 1996.

“Autobytel is continuing to take immediate steps to bring its costs in line with anticipated revenues,” says Michael Fuchs, chairman of Autobytel's board of directors. “The Board believes these actions are necessary and appropriate to further stabilize the company.”

Autobytel also is continuing to explore strategic alternatives through RBC Capital Markets.

Riesenbach had been with Autobytel since March of 2006 and was nearing the end of a three-year contract. His severance pay was $1.7 million.

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