Auto industry veteran Maria Soklis has been named executive vice-president, North America at Dealer Solutions Mergers and Acquisitions (DSMA).
Soklis, who most recently served as president of Cox Automotive Canada and Brazil, assumed her new role effective May 2.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” said Soklis.
[DSMA] “has gone through a lot of growth over the last few years … and this is an opportunity to take it to the next level.”
Soklis said she decided to join DSMA after being approached by CEO Farid Ahmad and Managing Partner Maxime Théorêt.
In her newly created position, she will spend most of her time Toronto, but will also be working out of Montreal and in the United States.
Based in Toronto, DSMA is an automotive intelligence and mergers and acquisitions advisory service that works with dealers, automakers and financial institutions across North America.
Soklis enters the auto retail sector as it undergoes dramatic change and consolidation – a trend that will continue, she said.
“I will be working to ensure the company navigates this period of industry transformation successfully and delivers the structured products and services a modern, agile professional services firm must deliver to stay relevant and at the top of their industry.”
Auto retail, she said, “will continue to see consolidation with potentially more public companies entering Canada as we saw with [U.S.-based] Lithia Motor’s purchase of Pfaff [Automotive Partners].”
Dealers, she added, will face “significant pressure from OEMs to advance the way they do business that will require them to be well capitalized.”
Some dealers may “not be able to afford it or may not want to afford it depending on where they’re at in their careers.”
Soklis, who spent more than six years at Cox, left the company in late 2021 after it moved its Canadian reporting structure into the United States.
Prior to joining Cox, Soklis was vice-president and COO at Kia Canada.