Longtime Ziebart CEO Passes the Torch to Next Generation Leader
March 08, 2022
Troy, MI (March 8, 2022) – After 28 years at the helm of worldwide leading automotive aftermarket brand Ziebart International Corporation, Thomas E. Wolfe announced he has handed over the keys to his son and successor, Thomas A. Wolfe, to drive the company forward.
As part of the leadership change, Thomas A. Wolfe becomes President/Chief Executive Officer, while Thomas E. Wolfe transitions to Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Board.
Having held the role of President/CEO since the early 1990s, Thomas E. Wolfe’s journey with Ziebart originally began in 1977, when he started as the controller. From there, in the mid-80s, he worked his way up to the position of treasurer and member of the Board of Directors. In 1994, firmly believing that having employees own the company would lend to an even greater pride in its success, he led the employees to buy out the previous owners as an ESOP (employee stock option program).
But perhaps his greatest accomplishment was leading Ziebart to expand its offerings from a single-service rust-proofing company to become a multi-service solutions car care provider. Under Thomas E. Wolfe’s leadership, Ziebart evolved to offer a lineup of market-leading appearance and protection services including detailing, paint protection and correction, window tinting, spray-on bed liners, windshield coating, undercoating and more.
“When leading a company that is over 60 years old, you have to keep innovating,” Thomas E. Wolfe said. “It has been my honor to work with our exceptional team and our franchisees to diversify our offerings and make Ziebart stronger with each passing year.”
In taking over the role of President/CEO, Thomas A. Wolfe, who has served in a variety of roles at Ziebart over the past 12+ years, said he is committed to continuing that culture of innovation.
“Among the many lessons I learned from working alongside my father at Ziebart over the years is the importance of adaptation to meet customers’ changing needs,” Thomas A. Wolfe said. “He instilled in our entire leadership team the importance of being adaptable and fluid. As cars and customers are changing rapidly, he taught us we have to commit to constant innovation – we have to celebrate and execute on good ideas in real-time to stay ahead in this industry. That’s the legacy that I will continue to carry forward.”
In 2021, as consumers turned to the brand more than ever to protect their vehicles, Ziebart experienced a year-over-year increase of 40% in retail leads. Factors driving the record-breaking growth include the automotive chip shortage, which is motivating consumers to invest in optimal care and protection for their existing or recently purchased new or used vehicles. According to the Auto Care Association, the automotive aftermarket is expected to grow to $477 billion by 2024.
Committed to building on that momentum, Thomas A. Wolfe said his priorities are to increase Ziebart dealer sales through new product development and marketing initiatives, increasing store counts worldwide, be fully engaged in the field to support current and prospective franchisees and build on key supplier relationships.
Over the past year, Ziebart has promoted several team members in order to build a solid foundation for future growth:
- Daniel C. Baker - Executive Vice President
- Michael Riley - Senior Vice President, Franchise Development
- Bruce Weir - Senior Vice President, International Operations
- Brian Jackman - Vice President, Treasurer
- Larry Stewart - Vice President, Information Technology
- Larisa Walega - Vice President, Marketing
- Naji Younes - Vice President, International Business
“The future is bright as our best-in-class leadership team continues to innovate and support our growing franchise network to succeed in their local markets,” Thomas A. Wolfe said. “I’m excited to get into the field to talk with our franchisees about their needs and listen to their ideas. Listening and innovating has gotten us to where we are today and will get us where we want to be in the future.”
Founded in 1959, Ziebart is the worldwide leader in detailing, films, and structural protection services, providing complete car care solutions. Ziebart International Corporation operates over 400 locations, with 1,300 service centers, in 36 countries. As an established automotive enthusiast brand, Ziebart has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top 500 Franchisor as well as a Top 200 Global Franchise. Ziebart is continuing to grow through franchising, offering a best-in-class investment for qualified prospects. For more information about owning a Ziebart franchise, please visit www.ownaziebart.com.