Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007, 08:00 PM UPDATED 11:59 AMBy Nick Zulovich
LOS ANGELES — Westlake Financial Services announced a new president this week as Bruce Newmark departed the company. Taking on the responsibilities is Don Hankey, chairman of the board.
In related news, Westlake said it has also added two executives — Michael Pavlin as senior vice president of operations and Chad Johnson as vice president of collections,
"I sincerely thank Bruce for his substantial contributions to Westlake and the Hankey organization over the years," Hankey reported this week.
"Bruce has been an essential part of growing Westlake into a national lender and leading Westlake to success over the past several years. Bruce remains a board member and shareholder of Westlake. We hope that in the future he can continue to play a critical role in the success of the Hankey organization," he continued.
As the new senior vice president of operations, officials said Pavlin has two primary goals at the start of his tenure. The first will be to assess the organization and identify company needs.
"I have a talent for efficiency in operations, that's your goal," Pavlin explained. "You have to ask ‘where are the opportunities to help reduce operating expenses?'"
According to officials, his second goal will be to help solidify Westlake's organizational structure.
"An essential part of a newly maturing organization is formalizing its structure. When a company's operation has grown as Westlake's has, this keeps the organization well-grounded and settled," Pavlin said.
"One of the keys to improving efficiency is building the relationships between departments. You have that, and you can work with greater confidence," he noted.
Pavlin brings extensive experience with automotive financing to Westlake, coming from Long Beach Acceptance Corp., where he served vice president of operations, executives indicated.
"I've been given an opportunity to help improve the company," he explained. "I was invited to join Westlake to bring a fresh perspective. My goal here is to help make Westlake the best finance company it can be, and it will look different than any other finance company."
Officials went on to point out that their new vice president of collections Chad Johnson is a former Bank of America manager, with more than 18 years of experience in the collections field.
His primary goal will be to mitigate Westlake's losses. However, Johnson said he plans to not just focus on collecting payments, but has more in mind for his new role.
"I want to make sure our department's image stays in line with our company goals: to provide excellent customer service regardless of when Westlake is in with them," he explained.
"We want to establish a middle ground for both Westlake and the customer with respect to repayment: a mutually agreeable term that will allow them to get back up to speed on their contractual obligations," he reported. "The purpose of this, of course, is not only to minimize Westlake's losses, but also to genuinely help our customers protect and improve their credit."
Hankey indicated, "We are excited to have both Mike and Chad at Westlake in their respective roles. Both bring extensive experience to their positions and broad knowledge of the auto finance industry.
"Westlake is continuing to expand its sales force in an effort to grow business. With this growth it is essential to have strong people driving the operational success of the company," he said.
Offering a bit of history about the company, executives said Hankey founded Westlake in 1988 and has served as chairman of the board since its inception.
Additionally, he also serves as chairman of the board of the Hankey Group, which is a group consisting of financial, real estate, insurance and technology companies, as well as rental and automotive dealership operations.