Sonic President Takes Top Spot at Pep Boys

Jeffrey C. Rachor, who oversaw growth and established strict ethical guidelines at dealership chain Sonic Automotive, is the new president and CEO of Pep Boys, an automotive aftermarket retailer.

Jeffrey C. Rachor, who oversaw growth and established strict ethical guidelines at dealership chain Sonic Automotive, is the new president and CEO of Pep Boys, an automotive aftermarket retailer.

Rachor, 45, was hired after an “exhaustive search” and unanimous board approval, says Pep Boys interim CEO William Leonard.

Rachor was president and chief operating officer at Sonic, No.3 on the Ward's Megadealer 100. Sonic Chairman O. Bruton Smith says his son Scott will replace Rachor as president, a job the younger Smith once held. He continues as Sonic's chief strategic officer. Rachor remains a board member.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead a company with a household name like Pep Boys,” Rachor says.

One of his proudest accomplishments during his 10 years at Sonic was establishing and enforcing strict rules for finance and insurance compliance at Sonic's 151 dealerships. That followed court action and negative news stories about F&I abuses at some Sonic stores.

Rachor said one such story, a 2003 hidden-camera expose by Dateline NBC, left him embarrassed, depressed and determined to clamp down on misdeeds at individual stores. Several F&I employees subsequently left Sonic.

Rachor joins Pep Boys after the 2006 resignation of CEO Larry Stevenson, who was criticized for failing to implement an effective turnaround plan after the firm lost $11.2 million in 2005.

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