Dr. Foteini Agrafioti
Chief Science Officer

Dr. Foteini Agrafioti is the chief science officer at RBC and head of Borealis AI, RBC’s Research Institute in Artificial Intelligence. She is responsible for the bank’s intellectual property portfolio in the fields of AI and machine learning.

Prior to joining RBC, Dr. Agrafioti was the CIO at Architech, an enterprise software company, where she led Architech Labs. She also founded and served as CTO at Nymi, a biometrics security company and maker of the Nymi wristband. Dr. Agrafioti is an inventor of HeartID, the first biometric technology to authenticate users based on their unique cardiac rhythms. Her work in this area earned her the “Inventor of the Year” award in 2012 by the University of Toronto, where she received her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition to her leadership roles, she is a TED speaker and serves on the editorial review boards of several scientific journals. Dr. Agrafioti was named one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40” in 2017.


Stephen K. Carlisle
President and Managing Director
General Motors of Canada

Stephen K. Carlisle was appointed president and managing director of GM Canada on November 20, 2014, returning to Canada over 30 years after first starting his career in Oshawa.

During this time, Mr. Carlisle has held a number of senior leadership positions at General Motors that have taken him across the globe, including vice president of global product planning and program management, 2010-2014; vice president of U.S. sales operations, 2010; and president and managing director of Southeast Asia operations, 2007-2010.

Mr. Carlisle began his GM career in 1982 as an industrial engineering co-op student at the Oshawa Truck Assembly Plant. After earning a bachelor of applied science in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1986, his first full-time assignment was in advanced manufacturing engineering, again in Oshawa. After various positions in materials management, Mr. Carlisle moved to the former Chevrolet-Pontiac-GM group in Warren, Michigan, in 1991, on a special assignment focused on product simplification, followed by a subsequent assignment in advanced product engineering.

In 1995, Mr. Carlisle was appointed director of the GM Decision Support Center, and in 1996, became program planning director for the Midsize Truck Vehicle Line Executive team, located in Pontiac, Michigan. After progressively more senior roles in planning and program management, Mr. Carlisle became executive director of program management for GM North America in 2001, before moving to Asia as the vice president of product planning and program management for Asia-Pacific in 2002.

Mr. Carlisle is an active business leader, currently serving on the Ontario Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity; the Dean's Advisory Council, University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering; and the Advanced Technology Committee of Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, as chair.

Mr. Carlisle also holds a master in business administration from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Michael Croxon
President & CEO
NewRoads Automotive Group

Michael Croxon first entered the retail car industry in 1987 when his father, Noel Croxon. founder and owner of North York Chevrolet, offered him a position in used cars. From there, he worked his way up through various sales management positions to GSM, to general manager, and to dealer principal in 1997.

Today, Mr. Croxon is the president & CEO of NewRoads Automotive Group, which is comprised of five dealerships (General Motors, Chrysler, Subaru (2) and Mazda). Under his leadership, NewRoads operates under the “four pillars” that are integral to their philosophy and brand: employee engagement, customer enthusiasm, performance and community.

Mr. Croxon attended the University of Western Ontario and is a past chair of both the Kia and Subaru National Dealer Advisory Boards.


Charles T. Daly
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Woodbridge Group

In 2014, Charles Daly was named president and chief executive officer of The Woodbridge Group, promoted from the position of chief operating officer, which he had held since 2009.

Joining Woodbridge in 1987 as a materials manager in the Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania facility, Mr. Daly spent several years in operations management before being appointed plant manager in 1993, leading to his appointment as director of manufacturing for molded foam in 1996. After a few years as director of manufacturing, Mr. Daly was appointed commercial director of the Lear GM Business Unit. Mr. Daly was promoted to vice president for assembly and sequencing and interior parts business units in 2000 and in 2001 added global materials management to his portfolio.

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Mr. Daly holds a bachelor degree in business logistics.


Pat D’Eramo
President & CEO
Martinrea Intl.

Pat D’Eramo joined Martinrea International as president and chief executive officer in November, 2014 and was elected to the board of directors in June, 2015.

Mr. D’Eramo has had a long and successful career in the automotive business, with extensive metalforming and parts manufacturing experience. Most recently, he has been the president of Dana Corporation’s Commercial Vehicle Technology group, leading the global heavy truck driveline business, with presence in the Americas, Europe, India, Australia and a major joint venture in China.

Previously, he was the chief manufacturing officer, Asia Pacific, North America and South America and president North America for Benteler Automotive, a world leading automotive metalforming company. As president, Mr. D’Eramo was responsible for manufacturing, engineering, purchasing, logistics, sales and business development. From 2001 to 2009, Mr. D’Eramo worked for Toyota, serving as a vice president of manufacturing after holding several general manager roles. As vice president, he had responsibility for all vehicle manufacturing operations in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant, Toyota’s second largest facility globally, which earned JD Power quality awards for one of the best facilities for quality in the world. Prior to that, Mr. D’Eramo spent 16 years with General Motors working in a variety of manufacturing positions, including plant manager of GM’s metal fabricating division in Oshawa, Ontario and manager of the stamping plant for NUMMI, the joint venture of GM and Toyota. Mr. D’Eramo began his automotive career at Saturn Corporation.

Mr. D’Eramo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University. He also completed the Toyota Executive Development Program through The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Steven Del Duca
Minister of Economic Development and Growth
Government of Ontario

Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca has a proven track record of outstanding community involvement and a clear dedication to public service. He was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in September 2012 in a provincial by-election. He is currently minister of economic development and growth.

In less than two years after being elected to the Legislature, Minister Del Duca secured approval of the Highway 427 extension and delivered $49.7 million towards the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital and $49 million for four new schools in Vaughan. Minister Del Duca was re-elected in June 2014 and appointed minister of transportation.

Prior to his election as MPP, he was the fundraising chair for the 2008 Annual Vaughan Hospital Fundraising Gala, which raised over $1 million for the project. In 2008, he authored an op-ed in the Toronto Star calling for a regional economic summit to help Vaughan and surrounding areas deal with the global economic crisis. He worked with all levels of government, community leaders and organizations to establish the Greater Toronto Region Economic Summit, which took place in May 2009.

Minister Del Duca obtained a bachelor of laws from Osgoode Hall law school in 2007. Previously, he studied political science and Canadian history at the University of Toronto and Carleton University.


Wolfgang Hoffmann
Jaguar Land Rover Canada

Wolfgang Hoffmann has been appointed president of Jaguar Land Rover Canada, effective March 7, 2016, responsible for overseeing the brands’ operations in Canada. Mr. Hoffmann comes from a rich background in the automotive industry serving most recently as president of Audi Canada.

In addition to his time as president of Audi Canada, Mr. Hoffmann brings extensive experience in the automobile industry with his position as the chief operating officer of Automobili Lamborghini America LLC in the United States. Prior to that, Mr. Hoffmann served as general manager New York Metro Area and director of product management for Audi of America.

Mr. Hoffmann went to school in Germany and the UK where he completed a degree course in engineering and a master of business administration (MBA) respectively.


Erin Kerrigan
Founder & Managing Director
Kerrigan Advisors

Erin Kerrigan is managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, which she founded in 2014. Kerrigan Advisors is the leading sell-side advisor to auto dealers in the US. Since 2015, the firm has sold over 60 dealerships, including four of the Top 100 Dealership Groups, representing over $1 billion in client sales proceeds. In addition to sell-side advisory services, Kerrigan Advisors raises capital for its clients who are seeking a financial partner or looking to sell a minority stake in their businesses.

Prior to founding Kerrigan Advisors, Ms. Kerrigan headed Presidio Automotive. Prior to Presidio, she was a senior vice president at AutoStar, a subsidiary of iStar Financial (NYSE: SFI), where she led transaction origination. Early in her career, she was dealer operator of her family’s dealership, which she sold in 2006. She began her post-graduate career as an investment banker for Piper Jaffray.

Ms. Kerrigan is a recognized industry expert on dealership buy/sells, valuation, real estate and private equity, and is a frequent speaker at leading auto retail events and conferences held by JD Power, NADA (#1 speaker in 2012), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), National Association of Dealer Counsel (NADC), Canadian Auto Dealers Association, and DrivingSales’ President’s Club. She has also been a key note speaker for events hosted by American Honda Motor Company, Audi of America, Bank of America, US Trust, Texas Automobile Dealer Association, Ohio Automobile Dealer Association, Colorado Automobile Dealer Association, and SunTrust Bank and has also led webinars for NADA and Automotive News. Ms. Kerrigan is the lead author of The Blue Sky Report, the industry’s leading buy/sell report.

Ms. Kerrigan earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her MBA from The UCLA Anderson School of Management. She is active in the National Charity League and Northwestern University’s Council of 100, a board of female executives who mentor students and recent graduates.


Francesco Policaro
Chief Executive Officer
Policaro Group

Francesco Policaro is the chief executive officer of the Policaro Group, a retail automotive dealer group based in the Greater Toronto area. Mr. Policaro officially began his career in 1999 however he carries with him a lifetime of experience being the second generation in the family business. Mr. Policaro is a graduate of the Canadian Automotive Institute, Business Management Program at Georgian College and Northwood University as well as NADA Dealer Succession Program.

Francesco Policaro is an innovative leader with expertise in sales and marketing, and carries a passion for the industry. He has held positions in every area of the business throughout his career and has been responsible for the recent growth of the company through new franchise appointments and various new business startups and acquisitions. With his recent appointment as CEO, his leadership and knowledge of the industry will navigate the group through a fast moving environment of change and complexity.


James Foss Ricci
General Manager
Roy Foss Automotive Group

James Foss Ricci is the general manager of Canada’s largest Cadillac retailer, Roy Foss Cadillac, and Roy Foss Chevrolet Buick GMC, in Thornhill. He is also the founder and president of Pacecar, an automotive technology company and consulting practice.

The car business runs in the blood of this third-generation dealer. But he cut his teeth outside the family business. At the age of 16, Mr. Ricci started his first company, Autospa.com, a seasonal car wash and detailing business operating at golf clubs and parking garages across the GTA. After completing his undergraduate and later graduate studies, he sold his company and eventually found himself selling used cars (and actually liking it!). Fast forward a few years, and Mr. Ricci moved from sales to sales management and then ultimately took over as general manager of the Roy Foss Automotive Group’s flagship store in 2012.

In his first year at the helm, Mr. Ricci and his team were able to turn around the struggling dealership by refocusing the 50+ year old company on a unifying vision, re-energizing the culture, and embracing new technology and approaches to the legacy business. Throughout his 10+ year career, Mr. Ricci has been keenly passionate about how emerging technology and social/digital platforms are transforming the car business. Inspired by this passion, he recently launched his own company Pacecar. The mission of the business is to explore and develop technology that lives at the intersection of three key emerging market trends: (1) the “sharing” economy and alternatives to personal vehicle ownership; (2) the rise of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles; and (3) alternative-energy vehicles and the supporting energy infrastructure. His vision is to help steward the development of new business model alternatives to the traditional dealership model.

Mr. Ricci holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from McGill University and a master’s degree in digital media management and economics from the London School of Economics. He serves on the National Cadillac Strategy Board and the Remarketing Advisory Board. He is the president of the Cadillac Regional Marketing Advisory Board for the Ontario Region. Mr. Ricci was recently awarded the Top 40 Under 40 distinction by Automotive News.


Don Romano
President & CEO
Hyundai Canada

Having initially joined the organization as its chief operating officer in January, 2014, Don Romano was appointed president and CEO the following May. Mr. Romano has accumulated a wealth of automotive experience over 30 years through increasingly senior positions in Canada, the United States, and abroad.

After entering the automotive industry with Nissan North America in 1985 as its corporate product marketing manager, Mr. Romano joined Mazda Motor Corporation in 2000. Starting as a national brand manager in the company’s California office, he progressed through a number of sales and marketing focused positions before becoming the managing director and president of Mazda Canada in 2006. In 2010, his responsibilities at Mazda expanded. With the added title of chief marketing officer, he led the company’s marketing activities across North America. In 2012, Mr. Romano became the senior managing director and chief marketing officer with ALJ International – his most recent position prior to Hyundai – where he established Toyota Saudi Arabia as the largest independent distributor for Toyota in the world with annual sales exceeding 300,000 units.


Grant Simons
Vice President & Head of Sales
RBC Automotive Finance

Grant Simons is the vice president and head of sales for RBC Automotive Finance. He is responsible for leading RBC’s national automotive, RV and marine finance business.

Prior to leading RBC’s Automotive Finance business Mr. Simons was the executive responsible for RBC’s commercial banking business for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Ontario, and the Arctic regions. Previously at RBC, he served as regional vice president of retail banking; vice president of commercial banking; and head of business and sales strategy for business financial services. Earlier, he was an entrepreneur and business owner/operator, creating, developing and leading a successful group of business in the hospitality and sports management industry sectors.

Mr. Simons earned a bachelor’s degree in neurophysiology from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at UWO. He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and currently serves as a member of the executive committee as well as chair of the Finance & Audit committees for Indigenous Works a national organization committed to aboriginal inclusion and employment.


Donald Walker
Chief Executive Officer
Magna International Inc.

Donald Walker was named chief executive officer by Magna’s Board of Directors on September 13, 2010. As CEO and member of the board of directors for Magna International, Mr. Walker oversees all aspects of the company’s global operations. Magna is a U.S. $32 billion global automotive supplier that designs, develops and manufactures components and systems for the world’s leading auto makers.

Mr. Walker held the previous position of co-chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors for Magna International.

From 2001-2005, Mr. Walker was chairman and CEO of Intier Automotive, a public company majority-owned by Magna International. Prior to taking Intier public, he was president and CEO of Magna from 1994-2001.

Mr. Walker joined Magna in 1987. Before joining Magna he spent seven years at General Motors in various engineering and manufacturing positions, including involvement in a new vehicle launch and new assembly plant.

He graduated from the University of Waterloo with a BA Science Mechanical Engineering degree in 1980.

Mr. Walker is a founding member of the Yves Landry Advisory Foundation, which promotes the value of technical education. He is a past chairman of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA) and remains active in industry initiatives.

In 1995, he was a recipient of the Top 40 Under 40 Awards in Canada and The Wall Street Transcript selected him as the Gold Award winner in the automotive parts industry. Mr. Walker was also named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” in 1998 by the World Economic Forum, and in 1999 Mr. Walker received the Professional Engineers of Ontario Gold Medal Award.

In July 2002, Mr. Walker became co-chair of the newly-formed Canadian Automotive Partnership Council (CAPC) with the Federal and Provincial Governments to identify both short- and long-term priorities that will help ensure the future health of the automotive industry in Canada. In 2007, he became a member of the Dean's Advisory Council, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo. In 2015, Mr. Walker was named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year and selected to Fortune Magazine’s Business Person of the Year ranking. He was also recently names #25 on Motor Trend’s Power List 2017.

Contact Us

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Email: lirwin@autonews.com

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