Car-Mart hires Holly Thomson as chief digital officer

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 819 views 

Rogers-based America’s Car-Mart has created the position of chief digital officer and named financial executive Holly Thomson to the role, according to a Wednesday (Oct. 19) news release.

Thomson will oversee the launch of an online loan origination system and data use initiatives as the company works to expand the number of customers each dealership can handle. Her position is the second new leadership role the company has announced this week.

“Opportunities in the digital and data areas of our business are enormous and Holly Thomson will be a critically important leader for America’s Car-Mart,” CEO Jeff Williams said. “Her broad and extensive automotive industry experience together with her strong team-oriented approach will allow us to maximize important growth initiatives. Holly will drive the completion and roll-out of our new Loan Origination System (LOS). The LOS will improve our customer experience by providing enhanced online pre-approvals for financing, allowing us to increase the funnel of potential customers to our dealerships. She will also be instrumental in our initiatives around the utilization of data in all areas of our business. Holly is a fantastic addition to our team.”

Thomson has more than 20 years of experience in financial services and led digital transformation initiatives in multiple leadership positions. Before joining Car-Mart, she was senior vice president of digital product and strategy at Wells Fargo, where she was responsible for direct-to-consumer products and customer offers. She also served in multiple leadership roles at Ally Bank, including senior director of auto and dealer financial services. There, she managed the digital experience for millions of customers and thousands of dealers across the country.

She also helped to build an award-winning user experience team (UX) that launched Ally Bank in 2009 and led the UX creative team that won a Forrester Outside In Award in 2013 for the design of Ally’s mobile banking app. Thomson is working to complete a doctorate in communication on digital transformation and the role of UX.

“I am honored and excited to join such a talented group of industry leaders and professionals at America’s Car-Mart,” Thomson said. “Their passion for delivering the best customer and associate experience is as impressive as the line-up of digital initiatives the team currently has underway to become the best integrated auto sales and finance company.”

On Tuesday (Oct. 18), Car-Mart named former dealership owner Steve Taylor to lead the company’s acquisition strategy. On Sept. 26, the company announced automotive industry executive Douglas Campbell as the company’s president.

In Car-Mart’s Aug. 17 earnings report for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, Williams noted the company’s plans to continue to acquire dealerships to expand its footprint. He also explained the efforts to increase the number of customers that each dealership can handle. The goal is to serve at least 1,000 customers per dealership. As of Aug. 17, the company had 12 dealerships that serve at least 1,000 customers.

“By increasing the ‘funnel’ of potential customers via our new Loan Origination System, we can continue to accelerate our 41-year history of serving more customers at a higher level,” Williams said in the earnings report.

Shares of Car-Mart (NASDAQ: CRMT) were trading Thursday (Oct. 20) at $61.48, up 31 cents or 0.51%. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has ranged between $58.67 and $129.50.